Signatures and Monograms
Clients are disappointed when a signature is not present or apparent, and lack of artist identification admittedly has a negative effect on market value. Signatures and monograms may be found on the front or back of paintings, and if the work is heavily soiled, may be difficult to see. Signatures that initially appear illegible may, with experience and prolonged study, may sometimes be discerned. If only the first letters of the surname are legible, a search of online alphabetical lists of artists’ names may prove helpful.
Monograms of lesser known artists were previously difficult or impossible to identify. Thanks to the internet, monograms may be found in artist’s signature and monogram databases. The order of letters does not need to be known in order to search the database. This monogram belongs to British artist James Lawson Stewart, whose watercolours are found in the collection of the Museum of London.