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Fine Art/ID of painting and or artist

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Dear Sir,

My wife and I acquired a painting from her mother.  We have been trying to find out more information about it, the artist, and maybe the value but have found nothing.  I have even tried e-mailing the Smithsonian about it, but it has been over 18 months and I have heard nothing back.  Probably this means either the artist is an unknown or I didn't send the message to the right place.  The signature suggests it was painted in the year __93.  My wife assures me this painting was in her mother's home before 1993 but other than that, has no idea how, when or where it was acquired.  I will describe it as accurately as I can.

The painting is an oil(?) on canvas portrait of a man with a beard from about the mid-chest up.  His facial features remind me of Ulysses Grant, although I doubt it is him.  He is wearing a black coat with a black button, white shirt with a black shirt stud, and a black bow tie.  It is difficult to be sure about the tie as his beard covers most of it.  His hair is dark but there is a decent amount of grey in his beard.  The background is very dark with a slight reddish tint.  I can barely tell where the shoulders of the coat end and the background begins.  It is signed "T. Hesketh - 93" in red with thin block print letters.  

The stretcher bars measured from the outside of the bars are 24" tall by 20" wide. Each bar is 2" wide by .75" deep, and the wood of the stretcher bars appears dark.  There are wafers of wood at the joints of the stretcher bars(2 each corner).

The back of the canvas is a burlap color, and has some darker spots in it.  The canvas is held to the stretcher bars with nails.  

The frame is held to the painting through the use of screw-in(?) type eyelets.  Each is screwed into the stretcher bars and then another screwed through it's eye into the frame.  There are 6 of these total (2 per side and one each top and bottom).  An oddity about the frame is that the wood grain does not match up between the front and back of the frame.  

Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

James O'Neill

Answer
Dear James, You have given a very comprehensive description of your painting, however the only listing I find for a "Hesketh" is of a 20th century sculptor who died prior to 1993. It sounds like you have a 19th century portrait probably painted by an itinerant artist. If you like you may send jpg images of the front and the back of the painting to my email at pirround@msn.com  Make your subject line "allexperts" so I do not bounce you as spam.
Cordially,
Dan

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Daniel A. Hynes

Expertise

Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.

Experience

35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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