Heidi Trautmann

596 - A painting of St. Hilarion by Dr. William Dreghorn found in Los Angeles

What a wonderful rewarding experience via Internet


By Heidi Trautmann


On the occasion of the ‘Museums Week 2013’ I placed an article on the exhibition of Dr. William Dreghorn’s drawings in Kyrenia Castle on my website (www.heiditrautmann.com under Art News Nr. 512) where at the end of 2013 it was found and read by a citizen of Los Angeles. He told me the story of a painting he had bought in a thrift shop just down the road and that he loved the painting very much but he wanted to learn about the background story and what it is probably worth.

Since I knew that the author of the booklet  “Castle Sketchbook”  Dr. Müge Şevketoğlu, Archaeologist, Cultural Heritage and Conservation, knew Dr. William Dreghorn personally, I approached her for some more detailed information directly from the source.

Thus, a very interesting exchange developed between a friend of the painter and the present owner of the Hilarion painting. We learnt that the painting is a water colour and the size is 21 x 16 inches. Dr. Müge answered directly back to him:…. ‘As he was my mentor and friend the sentimental value for me is high…..it must have been done in the late 1980s, later his painting quality deteriorated with his age, so you are fortunate enough to have one of his good works if not the best…..He used to give them away as presents but always framed because he said that people would throw the sketches away if not framed. I knew of an American couple who served in the Embassy in the 1980s and stayed in Kyrenia. There were not many foreigners here at that time so everyone knew everyone. I was mixing with foreigners to improve my English mark in school as a youngster.  I wonder if it was them who had it and voila it’s yours now…..

Bill is not an internationally known artist; he was a geology professor with an interest in archaeology and painting. He was eccentric and loved by many Turkish Cypriots. He became an icon in Cyprus (in the North) mainly due to his books with simple descriptions of antiquities. He never used his talents in painting for financial gain. He gave them away, gave them to foreign residents and also to the Red Cross for charity fund raising and similar…’


One can learn by this touching little story that art and creativity is never in vain, there will always be some traces left, even if your work lands in a thrift shop in Los Angeles, one day your work will be found by someone who appreciates it and hangs it on the wall.



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