Completed British 20th C, except portraits, Wales: Artists and Subjects 36 Does 'Tuzo' refer to the title of this painting or perhaps to the artist?

Tuzo(?)
Topic: Artist

This is presumably a well-known town and church.

Art UK has not been able to trace the copyright holder. The picture was painted about 20 years ago, so there must be a good chance of identifying the artist. There is an illegible signature bottom right. It could be that the signature reads 'Tuzo', rather than that being the title, but that is only a thought.

Marion Richards, Art Detective Manager, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. We found that this painting is not among the objects that were recorded when the Senedd’s artworks were re-catalogued in 2017. The record will be removed from Art UK.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.

35 comments

Andy, thank you for your suggestion.

The ODNB lists him as Sir Harry Craufurd Tuzo and notes that he was a
keen amateur painter, among other interests. I haven't been able to find any of his pictures online yet. The ODNB might be able to give us a contact.

Kieran Owens,

Marion, the signature in your attachment seems to contain some additional letters, starting with what appears to be an R to the lower right hand side of the second large letter. Is it possible to obtain a better image or can you work out those additional ones from what you can see?

Perhaps someone could suggest the likely location, possibly Italian/ Adriatic. It can't be called 'Tuzo' since no such place appears to exist, save as a Mount Tuzo in Alberta after the lady (Henrietta T.) who first climbed it and the [John] Tuzo-Wilson Seamounts not far off the California coast named after that geologist.

Andrew Shore,

Perhaps the enhanced signature could be read as either 'Lewis' or 'Jones' (which may not help much in narrowing it down...)

Jacinto Regalado,

Well, whatever the signature, it certainly looks like the work of a recreational painter.

Tim Williams,

The church looks Greek or Russian Orthodox in style. The buildings on a hillside remind me of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. So I think it's either a scene in Greece or the Balkans, which then raises the possibility that the signature is in Greek or Cryillic alphabets.

Jacinto Regalado,

Given the nature of the collection, it may well be that this is the work of a present or former member of the National Assembly for Wales, which is a political body, not an art institution.

Andy Mabbett,

There are, it seems to me, four characters under the signature; I wonder if it's a year, beginning "200"?

Alison Golding,

There are likely to be people still working at the Assembly who were around when the painting was acquired - institutional memory is a real thing - so enquiries there, either through the Press Office or their General Enquiries point on the website may come up with something. (Apologies to Marian if she's already tried this route.)

Alison, thank you for suggesting this. I had emailed the National Assembly for Wales, as we have a contact there, and I have asked the ODNB whether they could put me in contact with the family of Sir Harry Tuzo.

Osmund Bullock,

But if the date is 2000 it cannot be Sir Harry Tuzo - he died in 1998.

I'm not wholly convinced the word/?signature reads 'Tuzo' - it's an odd way of doing a capital 'T', and it could equally be a lower-case 'p' (or 'g') with letters before and after.

Osmund Bullock,

Or as Tim suggests, should we be thinking Greek or Cyrillic?

Kieran Owens,

Marion, are there any marks or labels on the back of the work?

Victoria Garthwaite,

Hi there. I have just seen this.. I am Harry Tuzo's daughter.. sadly this is not his signature. I do have a couple of paintings by him and they are not in this style at all. Sorry !

Kieran Owens,

Marion, are there any marks or labels on the back of the work? Also, could the name be Tom ..... It looks like the first letter of each name have been exaggerated, and smaller case letters complete each.

Kieran Owens,

(sorry, I shouldn't be doing this at this late hour) "...the first letter of each name has...".

Jacinto Regalado,

I have a feeling this might be something made for the tourist or decorator market by a more or less commercial artist, in which case we are highly unlikely to identify the painter.

Jacinto Regalado,

In addition, the scene may be a capriccio of sorts, as opposed to a faithful depiction of an actual site.

Kieran Owens,

Canaletto also painted capriccios for the tourist market.

Jacinto Regalado,

That is one way to look at it, Kieran, but it hardly helps us here, where we are dealing with something on a quite different level of magnitude. I'm reminded of something Cezanne said: "Monet is only an eye, but my God, what an eye!"

Marie Hawkins,

There appears to be a green tide line, algae stains and what looks like a boat in the bottom left corner. Also, the circles on the wall could be water pipes; all this could suggest the town is by the coast. The style of the houses and cypress trees imply a Mediterranean location, possibly the southern or western Balkans region.

As previously mentioned, the church does appear to be raised, perhaps on a hill and looks orthodox in appearance, although not completely typical of either the Russian or Greek style.

There seems to be enough detail to suggest this is a faithful depiction of a particular place and I’ve been trying to find the location based on these observations, but no such luck as of yet.

Kieran Owens,

Could the signature read Tom Green, or something similar? It would appear that the smaller set of letters, to the bottom right of what is being interpreted as a Z, reads as "ree".

Martin Hopkinson,

It might be on an inland lake , not the sea as many Balkan monasteries are

Jacinto Regalado,

I have long suspected this was acquired by an AM abroad, either as a gift or souvenir, and then simply put up as decoration and left there as such. It seems highly unlikely we will identify a known artist for this, so the only possible benefit would be to identify the location, assuming this is not a capriccio. It still looks to me like the sort of work produced for the tourist market.

I'm sorry for the delay of some months in returning to this question. Thank you for all the ideas offered as to the artist and the location.

The Senedd's artwork was re-catalogued in 2017 and this painting is not among the works recorded, so unfortunately we are at a dead end. The work will have to be removed from Art UK.

Mark Wilson 01,

I read the smaller letters as 'RWS', but there doesn't seem to be a member of the Royal Watercolour Society who has a name or style to match this picture on ArtUK:

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/view_as/grid/search/locations:royal-watercolour-society/sort_by/relationship.work_artist.name.keyword/order/asc/page/1

And it's in oils of course. It's also possible that there's nothing there under the signature or that we're just seeing accidental marks.

It's certainly likely that it's meant to depict somewhere by water and the buildings suggest the Balkans, but I wonder if by a lake or river might be a better match.

Often when institutions start up they end up with all sorts of odd gifts and stuff that gets purchased just to get something on the walls. There's at least one other painting in their (fairly small) collection with no artist attribution:

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/abstract-in-black-brown-and-white-224689

Even though the collection's only 20 year old. Like Jacinto I tend to think the Tuzo painting looks like a souvenir purchase. It's possible someone just went round the nearby charity shops to find stuff that fitted colour schemes. The fact that it's now been 'deaccessioned' would rather suggest some sort of back history like that.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and contributions re the artist and the location. Marion and I think that we can now close this discussion as the painting could not be found at the Senedd in 2017, when the complete collection was re-catalogued. The painting will be removed from Art UK.