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“It was at a Shepherd’s Bush car-boot sale and I paid £5 for it,” he says.
“Of course, that started me on the journey of trying to find the other ones.
The gold-framed painting will join the others already on display in his apartment, most notably the portraits of a husband and wife by 19th-century Dutch artist Petrus Marinus Slager (1841-1912).
“The thing I like about those portraits is that the people are not glamorous; they are beautifully painted but they are painted true to life,” says Becker, who embellished the frames with Japanese fabric knots.
Housed in the light and airy two-bedroom apartment he rents in inner Sydney, it spans eras and design movements as aesthetically diverse as 17th-century France, 19th-century Japan and 1930s Hollywood.Up close, the etchings have an eloquence and precision rarely seen in the four centuries since.Becker found the first muse by chance in London in 1991.A collector since childhood, Becker is drawn to the craftsmanship and skill of antique and vintage wares, as well as the stories behind them.“A lot of these pieces you couldn’t pay to have made today,” he says.