Art & antiques by Dr. Lori

The official portrait, “HRH The Duchess of Cambridge” was unveiled at London’s National Portrait Gallery on Jan. 11, and is on public display there.

The portrait was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery through the Art Fund. The painting was painted by the BP award-winning artist Paul Emsley (born in 1947 in Glasgow, Scotland) who also has painted such notable figures as President Nelson Mandela and author V.S. Naipaul.

Experts are categorizing the painting within the tradition of Italian Renaissance portrait master, Leonardo da Vinci, citing a keen ability to capture likeness and the use of dark and light areas to convey drama to the image.

Soon other royal portraits will be compared to this painting of the Duchess of Cambridge like the paintings by Hans Holbein of the royal court member of King Henry VIII to more current and famous painting of Princess Diana by American artist, Nelson Shanks.

Onlookers the world over – that is anyone with a pair of eyes – have offered their critique of the painting too.

Some adjectives that have been used to describe the work of art include dark, unflattering, inconsistent, etc.

I think the way the artist has captured the Duchess’ trademark flowing long hair and coy yet understated smile is an achievement, aesthetically speaking.

Of course, the natural beauty of the Duchess of Cambridge contributes to the success of the Emsley painting.

Some say that the painting shows a more serious side of the Duchess, but I disagree with that assessment. I think that the painting shows a youthful royal with a zest for life and a sincere smile that shows her unique understanding of her position.

The piece captures her likeness, suggests her vigor and makes the viewer want to take a second look.

The Duchess sat twice for the artist in both May and June 2012. One sitting took place at the artist’s studio and the other in the Duchess’ own surroundings at Kensington Palace.

Like most contemporary portrait artists, Emsley produced photographs and worked from them to complete the portrait.

The painting was completed after approximately four months of work by the artist.

The Duchess’ eyes are attractive, realistic and bright. An oddly familiar earring emerges from the Duchess’ curled hair and shows a strong resemblance to the famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring that was once owned by the late Princess Diana.

The portrait is bust length, which does not show the sitter’s hands so the earring may serve as a remembrance of the family tradition and the famous history of the royal jewels.

I think that as with many works of fine art, the earring may serve as a symbol of the legacy of the royals. This object is a recognizable link to her husband Prince William and his legacy of the royal lineage.

Reports indicate that the Duchess wanted to be portrayed naturally, not officially. To include the Duchess with her smile, many who know her say, was a good and obvious choice.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, now The Duchess of Cambridge, was born in Berkshire and attended Marlborough College. She studied at the British Institute in Florence before enrolling at the University of St. Andrews in Fife.

She has a degree in art history.

She married Prince William of Wales at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. She holds an honorary position as a Patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

“HRH The Duchess of Cambridge” by Paul Emsley is on display now as part of the Contemporary Collections in the Lerner Galleries of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Judging from the portrait, it looks like it’s good to be Kate.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit, or call (888) 431-1010.

Art & antiques by Dr. Lori



Special to

the Sun-Gazette

One of the oldest cities in North America and the only walled city north of Mexico, Quebec is located on the St. Lawrence River. The city’s name Kebec (Quebec) is an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows.”

Quebec’s old city was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in North America.

Boasting the largest francophone population outside of France, Quebec is a wonder for architectural enthusiasts. While the promontory serves as a natural fortress at the top of which Samuel de Champlain had Fort Saint-Louis built in 1620, the walls protect the city from would-be attackers.

After the War of 1812, a star-shaped citadelle was built to provide more security and a residence for the Lieutenant Governor General.

The city is famous for its warm people, breathtaking vistas and historic district on Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond). Along the famous promenade boardwalk, Dufferin Terrace, stands the most photographed hotel in the world, Chateau Frontenac. Located in the heart of the city, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company built Quebec City’s castle, as it has been called, in 1892-93.

The hotel served as a war-time meeting place for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Mackenzie King, the Prime Minister of Canada during World War II.

The 618-room hotel recently has unveiled the results of a multi-million dollar renovation project.

Upper Town’s Old City also offers a dramatic view of the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding countryside.

A stroll along the bustling Rue St. Jean will reveal historic buildings, trendy cafes, boutiques and majestic homes.

For C$2, you can ride the funicular and take in the 19th century architectural marvels that line the streets. Stone walls, copper rooftops and steepled churches demonstrate Upper Town’s position as the city’s cultural center.

The Hotel du Parlement (National Assembly) is striking in its Second Empire style referencing the type of architecture reserved for prestigious political and administrative buildings.

The central clock tower and expansive design remind visitors of the work taking place inside while the adjacent outdoor fountain, Fontaine de Tourny, is a traditional and creative spot.

The reverence to the city’s religious roots cannot be denied when visiting the Roman Catholic basilica, Notre Dame du Quebec, the seat of the local Archdiocese. Designed by Jean Baillairge and his son Francoise, who revisited the architectural project that began in 1633 and gave the basilica a decidedly Neo-Classical feel.

Quebec is a walkable, sophisticated city rich in history and full of contemporary attractions.

The architecture dots the landscape and documents this Canadian city’s fascinating background from the early settlers of the 1500s to the intellectuals of today.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit, or call (888) 431-1010.

Art & antiques by Dr. Lori

Across the country, many people who attend my antiques appraisal events are shocked to hear about some of the little-known methods used in major museums to preserve and protect precious art and antiques.

While museums make a long-term commitment to preserving and protecting objects in their care to educate the public, most of us are equally committed to keeping our family heirlooms and keepsakes in good condition in order to retain their value.

Some of the most common ways an object can be harmed include: pests and other insects, pollutants (dust, mold, etc.), temperature and humidity fluctuations, lights or sunshine, and oils from the human touch.

Hands off

For instance, the oils on your hands and the hydrogen sulphide compounds in the air cause silver to tarnish and will leave a permanent mark on your valuable silver pieces.

Signs that read “Do not touch” seem extreme but necessary when objects are on display in museums. When it comes to collectibles that we live with on a daily basis, it is a good idea to handle with care and handle only occasionally.

So, if you must handle an object, don’t handle it too often. Remember, the oils and small dust particles on your hands can cause permanent damage to your heirlooms and aging treasures.

It is best to store your private collections in an area of your home where it is cool and dry.

Attics (too hot with poor ventilation), basements (too damp), foyers (where the front door opens and closes often are bad because temperature changes are frequent), kitchens (too many cooking odors and too much heat), bathrooms and laundry rooms (too much moisture and possible mold) are not the best places for art or antiques.

Improper climate conditions can stimulate mold growth and cause objects to mildew, dry out and crack. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive pads to clean antique objects.

Devastating effects

Hanging a framed print in a sunny window, storing objects in acidic cardboard boxes and over-cleaning your antiques can damage your pieces forever.

Sunlight is the first culprit that damages most works of art. Heat is a close second.

Painted objects, prints and textiles should not be placed in sunny areas of your home as they are sensitive to light and will be damaged in a few short months.

There are few options to repair sun damage and fading once it happens. However, you can prevent heat from damaging your antiques. One of the hottest places where you display your collectibles is your china cabinet.

The glass doors act like a greenhouse and your objects are baking inside. Be sure to open those doors and let your objects get some good air flow every three months or so.

Spray the rag, not the Renoir

Cleaning a framed work of art, such as a print, seems straightforward.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to clean it. Spray the rag first. Do not spray the cleaner directly onto the glass as the chemical could drip in between the glass and the work of art and damage it.

Beware of bugs

Insects are monsters, killers. They carry bacteria and they will eat and not stop eating until they have damaged your antique – particularly wooden ones – beyond recognition.

You may stop an infestation by wrapping a small wooden object in acid free tissue paper and placing the object in a freezer. The bugs will die off in the cold.

Also, bugs love dark spaces and close quarters.

An easy way to protect your antiques from insects is to clean around your objects regularly, don’t eat food near your collectibles and use insect traps when necessary.

Certain types of art and antiques need special types of care.

Be diligent and handle your antiques carefully and you’ll enjoy them for years to come.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit, or call (888) 431-1010.