Dear Chatelaine's Antiques,
Recently, I had some items appraised at a local charity fundraiser. I was
told that this item might be by an artist named Samuel Bell, and that one
just like it had recently sold for more than $200,000. The problem is that
I have been unable to find any references to Samuel Bell or his artwork.
It would seem that at some point the dog was painted, making it difficult
to find out if he is signed.
If you know anything about Samuel Bell, or his work, I would be grateful
for the knowledge. I am also interested to know what I should do about the
paint job. Is there some type of specialist I should contact to remove it?
The reason you can't find any information about Samuel Bell may be that
there's nothing to find. We couldn't find anything on him either. But get this,
we found a Solomon Bell. He was a noted 19th-century sculptor of dogs!
In 1995, a redware sculpture by Solomon Bell sold
at Sotheby's New York for $13,000. Someone who thought they were
making it "pretty" probably painted your dog.
To take the paint off without hurting the sculpture, we recommend
that you take the dog to a conservator. Unfortunately, redware is a very
porous material. That means unless it was highly glazed, traces of the
paint will remain even after the dog is restored to its original