Calling all amateur sleuths: Family asks for help in locating missing paintings

A family from across the pond is looking for help in locating paintings by Tim Wells, possibly sold in an estate sale in Trumbull.

Hilary Wells, the wife of Tim Wells, contacted The Times to help spread the word on her husband’s missing paintings.

Tim Wells, a Greenwich native, now lives in England with his family. His paintings were last at his sister’s home at 20 Anita Avenue in Trumbull, before his sister died.

“The reason for trying to find my husband’s paintings is rather sad,” Hilary Wells said. “His sister, Lucinda Wells Cunningham, died of cancer.”

After her death, her husband moved away, selling the contents of the home, without the knowledge of the Wells family.

“Cindy was the last of the five children of Maury and Sally Wells of Greenwich, and she had inherited a lot of old family heirlooms — not particularly valuable, except to us, and we would very much like to find out what happened to them,” Wells wrote. “When her cancer was deemed terminal, I flew over from my home in England to be with her. During the weeks we spent together, Cindy was very anxious to list all the family items she held in trust, to keep them in the family, and to pass them on to the next generation.”

The paintings were hanging in the home when Hilary Wells returned to England.

“I offered to pack them up to be ready to ship, but she said they gave her a lot of pleasure, so I left them,” Wells said. “Since they are unique I think they will be easy to identify and — even if they are now in new homes — someone who attended the estate sale might recognize them and give me a lead to their whereabouts.

Wells said the paintings are an important part of her family’s lives.

“I am particularly keen that our children should have information about his paintings. Tim’s work formed a constant part of their growing up and of our lives together,” Wells said. “Each picture is a part of that life and so is very precious to us.”

The paintings

The signature on the missing paintings is “T W Wells” or “T Wells” and the scenes range from ships on the water to country landscapes. Some were painted around the time the couple met in London, while Tim Wells was studying painting in Europe.

“One of the missing paintings is of a fishing boat pulled up on a Spanish beach, where he was living for a while,” Hilary Wells said. “He is known in the U.S. as a marine artist and he sold his work in galleries from Boston to Annapolis — including at Mystic Seaport.”

“Another of the paintings is a large seascape showing a small open boat in the path of a storm,” she said. “This is student work and shows how talented he was from an early age. The painting was only recently brought down for Cindy from a cousin’s house in Litchfield, Conn.”

Anyone with information on the paintings is asked to contact the Connecticut relatives at 203-966-1307 or email