Look at this picture. I mean, just look at it!
It's a little girl with tiny doll-like hands (or Donald Trump-like hands). She's wearing a huge white bonnet, and what seem like multiple layers of smocks.
But it isn't an image I've picked up randomly on the internet. I found it (the real painting) but then I let it go.
Two years ago, I was wandering round the lower sales floor of Bygone Times in Eccleston (Chorley, Lancs). It is a huge complex full of collectables and antiques and generally wonderful stuff, as well as the usual tat (because one person's tat is another person's treasure!).
Tracy, and I were wandering about, looking AT the usual stuff, and looking FOR the usual stuff.
Doubtless we were also wondering how much longer we could wait before we legitimately mentioned to the other that perhaps it might be lunchtime...
And we encountered a portrait. There are huge numbers of portraits in Bygone Times, but this was not like any other I'd ever seen there.
Actually, I've seen a great many portraits in a great many art galleries, and this one was undoubtedly unique to my eyes.
As I often do when I encounter something amazing and more than a little bit odd, I decided to take a photo.
But the photo proved to be inadequate for my needs.
Why, oh why, didn't I take the painting home with me instead of its electronic image?
I should have bitten the bullet and put it under my arm instead of just wracking my brains trying to justify bringing it home and making a space for it on my already far-too-busy walls.
It isn't just because the picture itself is so compelling that I can't stop looking at it. I've more practical reasons for wishing I'd picked it up.
I’d love to use this image as a book cover for ‘Can’t Sleep, Won’t Sleep, vol 5’ (a book of short stories).
That's why I’m asking for help to identify this amazing and unusual image.
Does anyone recognise the painting or the style?
Was it on your stall at Bygone Times?
Did anyone purchase it? (Go on, you can admit it to me - I love it too!)
Has anyone seen it hanging eerily on the wall of a house?
Or has it perhaps been homed in a skip, having brought horror and havoc to all who associate with it?
Seriously though, if anyone knows even the smallest thing about it, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excited rant OVER - thanks for reading!