Vanishing Man, The

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0120160111
012016011120160112 (R4)

By Laura Cumming. An auction bargain ignites a humble bookseller with a lifelong obsession

Laura Cumming charts the obsession of a 19th century Reading bookseller with a portrait of Charles I - painted when the Monarch was a young man on a visit to Madrid. The Spanish genius Velasquez painted very few pictures, so did John Snare discover a long-lost treasure? And if so, where is it now?

This is a story about the intense emotions that great art can provoke - passions that sometimes verge on the irrational and which transcend considerations of value.

John Snare's conviction about the painting he bought evolved into a dispute with those who had more money, power and influence. In a sense, the missing Velasquez became a battleground for class war and the individual against the establishment.

But at the heart of the story lies a work of art, created with such skill and delicacy that it inspired the fiercest of feelings and continues to exert its mysterious pull to this day.

Read by Siobhan Redmond

Written by Laura Cumming

Abridged by Isobel Creed

Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

022016011220160113 (R4)

It is 1847, and John Snare invites the public to admire his Velasquez portrait.

Laura Cumming charts the obsession of a 19th century Reading bookseller with a portrait of Charles I - painted when the Monarch was a young man on a visit to Madrid. The Spanish genius Velasquez painted very few pictures, so did John Snare discover a long-lost treasure? And if so, where is it now?

Episode 2:

The portrait is set before the public and the press in the spring of 1847. Snare is determined that his discovery should be recognised as a work by the great Spanish court painter, but not everybody is willing to agree with him.

This is a story about the intense emotions that great art can provoke - passions that sometimes verge on the irrational and which transcend considerations of value.

John Snare's conviction about the painting he bought evolved into a dispute with those who had more money, power and influence. In a sense, the missing Velasquez became a battleground for class war and the individual against the establishment.

But at the heart of the story lies a work of art, created with such skill and delicacy that it inspired the fiercest of feelings and continues to exert its mysterious pull to this day.

Read by Siobhan Redmond

Abridged by Isobel Creed

Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

032016011320160114 (R4)

John Snare decides to show his famous picture north of the border.

Laura Cumming charts the obsession of a 19th century Reading bookseller with a portrait of Charles I - painted when the Monarch was a young man on a visit to Madrid. The Spanish genius Velasquez painted very few pictures, so did John Snare discover a long-lost treasure? And if so, where is it now?

Episode 3:

The Lost Velasquez is put on show in Edinburgh at the beginning of 1849. But soon Snare finds himself having to fend off not just challenges over the portrait's authenticity,but also overownership.

This is a story about the intense emotions that great art can provoke - passions that sometimes verge on the irrational and which transcend considerations of value.

John Snare's conviction about the painting he bought evolved into a dispute with those who had more money, power and influence. In a sense, the missing Velasquez became a battleground for class war and the individual against the establishment.

But at the heart of the story lies a work of art, created with such skill and delicacy that it inspired the fiercest of feelings and continues to exert its mysterious pull to this day.

Read by Siobhan Redmond

Abridged by Isobel Creed

Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

042016011420160115 (R4)

Laura Cumming charts the obsession of a 19th century Reading bookseller with a portrait of Charles I - painted when the Monarch was a young man on a visit to Madrid. The Spanish genius Velasquez painted very few pictures, so did John Snare discover a long-lost treasure? And if so, where is it now?

Episode 4:

The Velasquez has been restored to Snare but he has now vanished - until the portrait is advertised for show on Broadway in 1860. The Reading bookseller has fled to America.

This is a story about the intense emotions that great art can provoke - passions that sometimes verge on the irrational and which transcend considerations of value.

John Snare's conviction about the painting he bought evolved into a dispute with those who had more money, power and influence. In a sense, the missing Velasquez became a battleground for class war and the individual against the establishment.

But at the heart of the story lies a work of art, created with such skill and delicacy that it inspired the fiercest of feelings and continues to exert its mysterious pull to this day.

Read by Siobhan Redmond

Written by Laura Cumming

Abridged by Isobel Creed

Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Snare is awarded damages by the Edinburgh court but, despite this, is nowhere to be seen.

052016011520160116 (R4)

The Velasquez portrait, still in the possession of the Snare family, returns to Reading.

Laura Cumming charts the obsession of a 19th century Reading bookseller with a portrait of Charles I - painted when the Monarch was a young man on a visit to Madrid. The Spanish genius Velasquez painted very few pictures, so did John Snare discover a long-lost treasure? And if so, where is it now?

Episode 5:

In 1888 a Velasquez portrait of Prince Charles is reported as being lent to the Reading Art Museum by the widow of John Snare. Somehow the picture has returned to Britain.

This is a story about the intense emotions that great art can provoke - passions that sometimes verge on the irrational and which transcend considerations of value.

John Snare's conviction about the painting he bought evolved into a dispute with those who had more money, power and influence. In a sense, the missing Velasquez became a battleground for class war and the individual against the establishment.

But at the heart of the story lies a work of art, created with such skill and delicacy that it inspired the fiercest of feelings and continues to exert its mysterious pull to this day.

Read by Siobhan Redmond

Written by Laura Cumming

Abridged by Isobel Creed

Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.