Rory Flynn Restores John Decker Portrait!

28 Jul

Rory Flynn, daughter of Errol Flynn announces on the blog today that she has fully restored the famous John Decker portrait of her father:

During my childhood this portrait always hung at Mulholland Farm in my father’s den … the artist was John Decker most famous for his portraits and characterizations of Hollywood celebrities Katherine Hepburn, Buster Keaton, John Barrymore, Jimmy Durante and others as historical figures.

He was quite well-known, and a friend of my father who invested in an art gallery with him in Hollywood, and I think he painted this in 1947… many years later, another wife later, the portrait was taken to Jamaica where it remained for about 25 years when it was almost completely destroyed in a hurricane.

The water damage was horrible.

My stepmother relocated it to the basement where it sat all these years until I was able to retrieve it after her death. I handed it over to the art curator John Short and John Hamm who run the North Carolina Gallery of Fine Art where it was beautifully and miraculously restored to its former condition with almost exactly the same frame that my father had made for it.

I am thrilled and excited to have this hanging in my home and I can’t thank these gentlemen enough for the year that it took for them to restore it …


Rory Flynn with Curator John Short

Click image to enlarge

… thanks, Rory!

“North Carolina Gallery of Fine Art specializes in 19th, 20th and 21st century museum quality art. Our special exhibit is the “Face of Lincoln” bronze sculpture by Robert Merrell Gage (American 1892-1981). The gallery also provides art restoration services for paintings and frames, art appraisals and the professional curation of small private and business art collections”…

— David DeWitt


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  1. Jack Marino

    July 28, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS RORY!!! I’m so glad you are now in total control of the Decker painting and it’s back in the Flynn family. The restoration looks fantastic I’m sure it looks even better in person.

    When Lincoln and your sister with to see Patrice in Jamaica, Deirdre took a video from my camcorder of Pat holding the original Decker painting without any frame. Pat did a little dance when she was holding the painting. On the video you an see the damage on the top right and left corner. Pat said that when that hurricane came through Jamaica that year it blew out the windows on the estate and the Decker painting when out the window, rolled on the grass and into the pool. Thank God the pool was empty. Pat went out in her nightgown to retrieve it and she wrapped it in a blanket and there is stayed in her closet until she passed away.

    One of your Dad’s pals was so impressed with the painting of your father, that he had Decker make him a copy. I don’t think Decker told your Dad and in those days the only way to make a copy of one of his paintings was to redo it over again.

    Decker did a copy in a few hours and sold it to this actor pal of your Dad’s. It is an exact copy, Decker did it all from memory, however, there is a slight smile on your Dad’s face in the 2nd painting. It stayed in the family until it was sold, and a friend of mine purchased it since he is an author and Errol Flynn fan. That second painting is hanging in his home.

    I am very happy you have the original ‘Decker Painting of Errol Flynn’ Your Dad would be proud it is in your hands.

  2. Debbyphielix

    July 29, 2021 at 5:14 am

    So happy to hear you have the painting Rory. It is beautiful. Thanks Jack for the info. An interesting tale.

  3. tassie devil

    July 29, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Ow Rory how much I can feel your love for this painting. you should have had it before this but we are so glad it is in your hands now where it is safe at last. No matter how many years pass true love never dies. All our Love to you. Your great friends Genene and Steve.

  4. Ralph Schiller

    July 29, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    God bless Rory for restoring this part of Errol Flynn history and his legacy.

  5. Maria

    July 30, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    That is a precious thing you have done Rory!

  6. timerider

    August 17, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Well Rory you are looking trim! This portrait has always been a favorite of mine. Decker captured the soul and heart of a weathered sea captain in my point of view. Thank you Rory!