On February 1st an almost 460 year old painting will be put up for auction in New York and it can be yours for a cool $2-3 million. How does this relate to plumbing and the trades? Well the painting, “Saint Margaret” by 16th century artist Titian, was given to John Embry, the royal plumber of King Charles I of England, in lieu of payment for his work. Before going more into this, yes “royal plumber” was a thing, and yes that is a really cool job title. The factors around this payment are less cool. King Charles I owed his royal plumber quite a bit of money, but wasn’t going to be able to settle his debt on the account of being recently executed. So John Embry was allowed to choose a painting the former king owned to make up the difference. He chose the most expensive piece in the collection that still ended up being worth less than what he was owed, but given the circumstances he took what he could get.
“Saint Margaret” by Titian
From there the painting was passed down through the ages, moving from owner to owner, finding a home with a member of Parliament, a diplomat, and various other art enthusiasts and museums. Now it can belong to anyone! (as long as they have a few million dollars to spend) So would you accept a painting as payment? What’s the weirdest thing that you have been offered instead of cash? Let me know in the comments below!
If you are looking for plumbing, heating, and HVAC products there’s no better place to shop than SupplyHouse.com. Unfortunately we don’t take paintings as a form of payment, but I’ll ask around to try to make that happen.