After 50 years, family reunited with lost painting of the Queen
Published Friday, January 18, 2013 3:43PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 3:53PM EST
MONTREAL—For 50 years, Pamela Edwards’ painting of the Queen was hung unrecognized on a number of walls across Montreal. The painter’s family lost track of the piece of art and its location was a mystery—until last month.
In late December, CTV Montreal ran a report about a number of Canadian paintings up for auction by a foundation created by the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal.
Not all of the paintings were sold and many continued to hang in the offices of the English Montreal School Board. One of the paintings featured in the story was Edwards’ portrait of the Queen.
“I’m really excited, I’ve been waiting a really long time to see this painting, I’ve heard so much about it,” said Skye Edwards Barbic. The granddaughter of the painter had spotted the portrait in CTV’s report.
On Wednesday, Skye went to an EMSB office in Notre-Dame-de-Grace with 10 other members of the Edwards family, including the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Pamela.
Four floors up from street level, the family was granted a visit by the EMSB so that they could see up close what some had only the vaguest memories of.
“I haven’t seen it for, oh, I’m guessing over 50 years,” said Lance Edwards, the painter’s son.
The portrait of Queen Elizabeth the Second was painted in 1961 and sold a year later, its whereabouts where a mystery.
“We never had any idea where this painting was, it's one of two portraits of the Queen that my grandmother painted,” said Heath Edwards.
According to Skye, the painting was easy to spot.
“The first thing you profiled was the eyes of the painting,” she told CTV Montreal reporter Tarah Schwartz. “Before even seeing the name we knew right away.”
Standing nearby as the family looked at the painting was George Vathilakis, one of the guardians of the piece of art from the PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation.
“It’s quite emotional to see them, seeing their faces when they came in and saw the painting,” said Vathilakis.
“It's overwhelming, finally after all these years and after all the stories,” said Heath.
The family brought early sketches of the portrait and pictures of other paintings that they are still looking for. They also shared some of the stories that has kept the family searching for so long.
“My mom was a night owl and she used to paint right through the night. I remember her standing in front of her canvas with a brush in one hand and a cigarette in another,” said Eliot Edwards.
Pamela Edwards turns 96 next month. By all accounts she is a humble woman, with fiercely proud children and grandchildren.
“This is something they'll be remembering for a very long time. This is part of my mother's legacy and we're very proud of it,” said Lance.
The family could be able to buy back the painting from the foundation, until then they took their time to appreciate the art.
“It's much more meaningful now than if it had always been there for us to see,” said Skye.