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I remember being shocked to discover that this painting had deteriorated and needed conservation.  This is a poem to parody Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess– just because I feel like injecting some art comment after the Turner Prize results were announced.

Sonia was disappointed to find out that her Laughing Cavalier portrait was a fake- see Fake of Fortune post.  This is about the authentic Hockney portrait’s erstwhile condition.

I hope they’ve stabilised it now:

That’s our last Hockney painting

hanging on that wall.

Its colours used to be alive;

we call that piece a blunder now.

‘Twas not her husband’s presence only

caused such serenity in Mrs. Clark.

The cat had something to do with it –

before the colours went quite dark.

Her throat’s half-flush is very faint,

which may be down to fading paint.

Perhaps we were too easily impressed

and liked whate’er we looked on.

The victory of modernism proves quite Pyrrhic,

considering the limitations of acrylic.

If properly applied, the paint should last

but if it’s not, deterioration’s fast.

And then we had the experts from the Tate

debating if they had a fake or flake.

So who would stoop to blame this sort of trifling?

The legal experts seemed to think a few.

The artists weren’t in the Master class

and owners seemed prepared to sue.

For, as the tide removes the lover’s name from off the strand,

Art need not transcend nature for Time has the upper hand.

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