Winchester, England couple Sue and Keith Webb recently received an unexpected package containing an oil painting of an ugly woman. The perplexed couple aren't very fond of the piece - Keith said, "it's a painting of such a horrid old crone, my wife won't have it in the house."
The painting arrived in a package with no return address or accompanying note - just a portrait of some old, mean-looking lady in a white headscarf, who looks a bit Gollum-esque.
The Webbs can't figure out who might have sent the art. All of their friends denied it, and no relatives passed away recently, so it wasn't left in a will. “Just curious, very curious to know why and who sent it and what we’ve got to do with it. What we’re supposed to do with it", said Sue.
The Royal Mail said had no information on the package, and courier service Parcelforce could only say that it was sent from a WHSmith post office. Keith said, “I tried very hard to find out if there was a delivery instruction, a delivery note inside. There wasn’t, there was nothing. There’s just my name on the, on the packaging…There’s no painter’s initials there at all. There’s nothing there, no title.”
Fine art auctioneers Andrew Smith & Son appraised the painting at being worth roughly $300-$500. Fine art expert Andrew Smith couldn't identify the artist, but thinks the painting was made in the early 19th century.
The Webbs don't plan to keep the painting, and still have no clue who sent it. Keith said, “I’d really rather like to find if anybody owns it and I want to get rid of it just as soon as possible.” Sue added, “Get rid of it, yes, get rid of it. That’s what I’d like to do.”
Perhaps DNA testing can be incorporated in solving the identity of the woman in the painting, which could lead to the identity of the person who sent it. The same tactic was recently used on the Mona Lisa. Or, the Webbs could just eBay it, as the work now has a bit of obscure irony-worth.
Image via BBC News.