Adding to the story

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review and, by the time this week’s edition expires, to the new year.

Earlier this year, I wrote a cover story telling readers about a painting I bought of Stari Most, a bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and the journey on which it led me to find its story. One thing I still did not know when I wrote the story was the identity of the artist. The painting was signed JBurr. I also did not know if the piece was painted from the actual setting or from a photo. And i did not know if it had a title.

Not long after we published that article, I heard from one of our North Carolina readers, David Regan.

“The artist is James Burr,” he wrote. “My brothers, sister and I called him Grandad. He and my grandmother moved to the United States from England in 1968 shortly after I was born. The bulk of my family, including James’ only daughter (my Mum) live in Northern California, and have many of his paintings.”

James Louis Burr for a time traveled around Europe painting local landmarks and selling them. So my painting may have been done by Burr sitting and painting it in person, though we cannot be sure.

“He and my grandmother owned a hotel, The Oak, in Feltwell Norfolk where my parents met,” Mr. Regan wrote when I asked him for more information. “In 1968 he and my grandmother moved to the Sacramento, California area where they stayed until he died August 29, 1989. … I only recall seeing the painting of Stari Most, not details of how/where/when it was painted.” Nor did he know a title, so I may give it one, which of course would be Stari Most.

The artist’s widow still lives near us, in Sacramento, and I hope to make contact with her. Mr. Regan said he was given one of his grandfather’s paintings on his 21st birthday, and he calls it “my most prized possession.”