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Is this mystery lady in the picture frame from Bonavista?

Clyde Drover thinks there’s a possibility this drawing comes from the Bonavista area. Do you recognize the face?
Clyde Drover thinks there’s a possibility this drawing comes from the Bonavista area. Do you recognize the face? - Photo from Facebook

Spaniard’s Bay man looking for identity of woman in charcoal drawing

SPANIARD’S BAY, N.L. — Clyde Drover is wondering who the woman-behind-the-picture he’s stumbled upon may be.

The Spaniard’s Bay man discovered the charcoal drawing of a lady in an old frame, hidden behind another picture for many years.

“The woman looks very regal,” Drover told The Packet.

“The dignity that’s in the woman’s face is just crying out.”

Drover says his brother-in-law, Harold Smith, who was a teacher, originally owned the frame.

He believes the drawing may have come from the Bonavista area, as Smith taught in Harbour Breton, then later in Bonavista for about eight to 10 years in the 70s and 80s.

Once he left the community he moved to Spaniard’s Bay and stored some of his belongings in Drover’s basement — including some old picture frames he had acquired.

“Over the years he did collect things … antiques and these sorts of things,” remembers Drover.

Unfortunately, Smith passed away in 1991.

Drover held onto many of Smith’s possessions — including the ornate frames.

“I wasn’t even aware of some of the stuff that was in there — just crated-up, box stuff,” said Drover.

He says the frames all seem very old. He didn’t necessarily have a use for them until about six or seven years ago when he decided to place a print he owned in one of the antique frames.

After taking apart the frame for the first time, he says the wooden piece looked handmade. The front-most picture, which he removed, was of a vase.

“I would think (it was) from an old calendar of some sort … just to hang on a wall,” explained Drover.

The charcoal drawing of the woman was behind the other picture — hidden from sight.

Drover says he had an artist look at it, who said it was done on paper and dated the woman from about the 1850s or 60s, based on the style of her dress.

Because of the dress, he suspects she may have been of high economic status — maybe an affluent family — and also because not many people would have the means to have a drawing like this commissioned in this time period, if it were done at that time.

His only other clues lie in what’s written on the picture and the wooden slats which border the drawing.

There are some instructions for the artist to lighten or darken certain areas on the paper, and on the wooden border there are the numbers “86702”. However, Drover doesn’t know what the numbers might mean.

“That’s the only mark that’s on there … there’s no identification of who it might be.”

Within the last two or three weeks Drover decided to take his search to Facebook in an effort to find who the woman is.

He’s kept the piece of art behind his print for years for safekeeping, hoping to return it to the family of the person it depicts.

“I didn’t want to separate the two because if we can find the original family it would be very nice to get this back to them.”

If you have any idea on who the person in the picture might be, contact “Clyde F Drover” on Facebook.

Jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

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