Is there a Market for Castles?

As told by Robert C. Vose, Jr. (1911-1998)

Watch Robert C. Vose Jr. tell the story

A young artist friend bought a house in the Adirondacks. While cleaning out the garage, he noticed a huge painting in a very heavy frame, so heavy that he could barely turn the picture to the light. He called Vose Galleries and inquired, "Is there any market for paintings of castles?" We asked him to look for a signature, and he said there was a large tablet on it that said "Cropsey", one of the famous Hudson River School painters.

We alerted the National Gallery in Washington, where it now hangs. I’m sure that our artist friend got back much more than he paid for his entire house. In fact, it must have been ten times as much!We urged him to bring the painting to Boston. Little did we realize that he would tie the painting on the top of his car for the journey, but he fortunately arrived without incident. It turned out to be Cropsey’s Spirit of War, his most exhibited and famous painting.

Jasper F. Cropsey (1823-1900)
The Spirit of War
Collection of the National Gallery of Art, 
Washington, D.C. 

The allegorical Spirit of War, along with its companion painting Spirit of Peace, were exhibited seven times between 1852 and 1857. Cropsey based Spirit of War on a poem by Sir Walter Scott, "Lay of the Last Minstrel", which describes the terrors of approaching war. The feudal setting depicts dawn after the enemy has ransacked a village. Defending knights ride forth to do battle, while a goatherd seeks protection from the castle and a mother and child lie by the roadside, exhausted from the carnage

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