Treasure: Garden scenes perennially popular

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News

Spring has been slow arriving in Metro Detroit this year, forcing us to find other avenues to shore up our winter-weary spirits.

Dave Hansz brought a respite in the form of a beautiful oil on canvas of a garden landscape to a recent Trash or Treasure event at DuMouchelles downtown, where appraiser Bob DuMouchelle took a closer look.

“I have an oil painting which I inherited from my father, who in turn had inherited from his mother,” Dave’s wife, Ellen, wrote in an email requesting more information. “It is a garden scene 27” X 20” in a large gilt frame. It is signed “Mostyn.” I know that Thomas Mostyn was an English painter who did other garden scenes. I know my grandparents had a relative who lived in London in the early 1900s and purchased many antiquities and paintings, which ended up in my grandparents’ house in Brodhead, Wisconsin.”

The verdant image portrays a beautiful landscape with trees, flowers and blue skies surrounding a pond and is framed in an ornate gilt frame.

“The word in the family is that the relative lived in London and moved back in the 1920s, bringing a lot back with him,” Dave, who brought the piece in, explained. “We have some bills of sale from the items, but no bill for this. He didn’t have heirs, so many pieces ended up with my wife.”

There were some family records, including one that included a bill of 100 British pounds for an oil painting, but Hansz wasn’t sure if that bill was for this particular painting, he told DuMouchelle.

The appraiser says DuMouchelles has sold other works by the artist, who was born in Liverpool in 1864 and raised in Manchester. According to the appraiser, Mostyn studied at the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts and covered a variety of subjects in his work, although his garden scenes, including an idyllic post-World War I series of enchanted gardens, are among his most known.

The back of the canvas is marked “Prepared by C. Roberson & Co. Ltd,” with an address of “89 Long Acre, London,” another point in its favor, said the appraiser. “Everything checks out,” DuMouchelle told Hansz. “I believe it’s legitimate. He often used capital block letters.”

Hansz said the couple have had it hanging in the dining room, but that no one seems to want it once they’re gone and they’ll have to decide what to do with it next.

DuMouchelle said garden and landscape scenes are perennially popular and thinks it could bring $800-$1,200 at auction, or $2,000 and more in a retail setting. “This could be part of the artist’s enchanted garden period,” he told them. “It would appeal to a wide variety of art collectors.”

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.

About this item

Item: Oil on canvas

Owned by: Ellen and Dave Hansz

Appraised by: Bob DuMouchelle

Estimated value: $800-$1,200 at auction