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Cat Scratch Fever: Rare Painting Damaged by Feline

Grosvenor.

ARTHISTORYNEWS.COM

Sometimes your dog eats your homework. Sometimes your cat destroys your rare 17th-century painting. Recently, the latter occurred. The Telegraph reported Saturday that the British art historian Dr. Bendor Grosvenor invested roughly £10,000 ($12,800) in the purchase and restoration of a portrait of a man by the 17th-century British artist John Michael Wright, only to see it destroyed by his cat, Padme.

According to The Telegraph, Dr. Grosvenor—who has a long history discovering lost works of art and appeared in five seasons of the BBC art appraisal show Fake or Fortune—bought the painting in 2015 for £5,250, and has sunk roughly £5,000 into its restoration, which was well along its way at the time of the attack. “As I stood back to admire my handiwork, up jumped our cat, landing forcefully in the centre of the painting with a crunch. Disaster,” Dr. Grosvenor told The Telegraph.

This flying and scratching led to a large hole in the painting. While it is fixable, Dr. Grosvenor told The Telegraph that the work will never revert to its previous condition. “Wright is one of my favorite artists, and I bought this example because it was in excellent condition, with all the original glazes and details wonderfully intact,” Dr. Grosvenor said. “Now, it’s obviously in less good condition—but at least the cat landed on his clothing, and not his face.”

Repair costs are thought to be the equivalent of the price Dr. Grosvenor originally paid for the painting. As for Padme, Dr. Grosvenor said that his cat is “not a fan of John Michael Wright, and regrets nothing.”

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