The Telegraph was attracted to the story behind this group portrait. Sir Herbert Gunn’s wife ran off taking their three daughters with her and changing the children’s last name. While working on a mural, the painter chanced upon his children at the Regent’s Park zoo in 1929, three years after the divorce. Several subsequent “chance” meetings allowed him to paint the picture. The Scottish painter eventually came to know his daughters as adults. The picture will be auctioned at the British Antiques Dealers Association and Fine Arts Fair later this week.
Sir Herbert, who is best remembered for having painted the official portrait of The Queen in her 1953 coronation robes, kept the picture in his studio until his death in 1964. The oil painting has remained in the family until the present day.
He was born in Glasgow and studied at the Glasgow School of Art before attending the Academie Julian in Paris. He remained in Paris until 1914 and gained a national reputation as a society portrait painter during the 1920s. Sir Herbert was also President of The Society of Portrait Painters and a member of the Royal Academy. He was knighted in 1963 for services to art.
Poignant Secret Painting to Be Auctioned (Telegraph)