Sadly, it doesn't even begin to do the picture justice. It had a mystery about it. Its subject was extremely simple - just a table, set ready for a meal. There was a kind of moonlit sheen on the plates that was almost supernatural. The scene might have suggested a Marie Celeste scenario, except that it radiated quietness and calm.
It was strangely soothing.
I use the past tense, because I doubt the painting even exists now. The last time I saw it was on a black and white Blair-Witch-Project-style-recording. This was extracted from the machine that was thoughtfully supplied by my husband's company in order to give us front-seat viewing of any robberies from the house that comes with my husband's job. Sadly, the company didn't choose to also provide security to deter possible robberies. When we first arrived, it was explained to me that there was no need, as a man two doors down the street employs guards and, obviously, they'd be sure to look out for us as well.
Needless to say, the night we were robbed those guards were not looking out for us as well. Why on earth would they be?
So my last sight of my favourite painting is of it being carried out of the house and over the back fence by a man with a stocking over his face.
The painting was very light, as it was unframed - people often told us we should frame it but we didn't think it needed one. It was oil on canvas and we never knew who painted it, or when it was painted (probably late 19th or early 20th century, but that is only a guess.)
Because of its unframed, unsigned, unclassifiable condition, I suspect that the man with the stocking face will have found that none of the people he tried to offload it on wanted our beloved painting. That assumes it even survived the rough way he was holding it as he scrambled over the back fence.
Even if he didn't tear the canvas in his getaway, I fear the painting probably got ripped, angrily and deliberately, by the burglar, furious that he couldn't get a decent - or perhaps any - price for it, as it was such an unknown quantity.
I think of this lovely thing lying among potato peelings and tea leaves and catfood cans in some heap of rubbish somewhere in Belgium, the rain falling on what is left of its charm. What a waste, an object that gave so much pleasure wrecked for no purpose.
I miss it like a friend.