Mr Turner man took a matching pair of old paintings into a restorer and asked him if he thought it was possible to clean them without ruining the pieces or spoiling their look, antiquity or value as they were very old and dirty and in the colours could no longer be fully seen. The restorer wasn't there when he arrived so he left the paintings with his wife.

Mr Turner popped in the following week to see if the restorer had received the paintings and had time to look at them. The restorer said that he had started to clean one of them and that it was looking good. He showed Mt Turner the first painting showing one half of it cleaned and the other half of it as it was.

Mr Turner was upset as he hadn't agreed to them being cleaned and had only wanted to know if it was possible to clean them and had not wanted the restorer to actually start work on it, especially without knowing the full cost of restoration and how it would affect the value and look of them as antiquities.

The restorer apologized and claims he must have had some wrong information from his wife, who told him that Mr Turner had dropped them off to be cleaned. Mr Turner now had half a picture restored, which was useless and so had to have the rest of it cleaned. As the two were a pair, he needed to get them both cleaned or else they would look different and not work as a pair. Mr Turner didn't think he should have to pay for any of it as he only wanted the restorer's opinion and a quote.

This was a tricky case. There was obviously a miscommunication between the wife and Mr Turner or the wife and the restorer. There was nothing in writing agreeing anything, so the restorer had acted improperly by starting the cleaning of these paintings. The restorer should have made sure that he had received proper written instructions from Mr Turner about what he wanted, explained the risks of cleaning an antiquity, had the proper valuations of the paintings before commencing any work and made sure that they were properly insured in case of mistakes and should have carefully documented each stage.

The eCourt Verdict is that Mr Turner should get an independent professional opinion on the half restored art work. If he is happy with the work of the half restored painting then the restorer should finish the cleaning of the entire painting free of change. If Mr Turner is satisfied with the end result, then the restorer can clean up the other painting as well at a special discounted rate.

The restorer has suggested that the cost of restoring the two paintings at full cost would have been around £350. In order to settle the case, and if Mr Turner is satisfied under the conditions above, then eCourt suggests that the restorer charges a nominal amount, we suggest £150, for the cleaning of two paintings and writes off the loss to experience and makes sure that in future, he does not start work on any pieces unless he has clear written instructions on how to proceed.


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