"Another surprise was the presentation by Frater Ballam, past Master of the Francis Bacon Lodge in San Francisco, of a beautiful painting of the Master Jesus and His Disciples on a canvas approximately sever by ten feet. It was unveiled on the platform before the Convention with appropriate speeches and is to be on permanent exhibition in the Auditorium." At the bottom left of this painting is the artist's signature W. Ballam.
The Secret Message
At the bottom center of the painting is a secret message printed using the AMORC alphabet a copy of which used to be sent to members of the 1st Temple Degree and is also found in the out of print Rosicrucian Manual. Ah, the good old days. When you decode the message it reads from left to right DEVILHE. Huh?! What? Devil he ? He, Jesus, was a devil? No way! Just remember that the AMORC alphabet is meant to read from right to left and without spaces. Now it reads correctly as HE LIVED. An appropriate caption dealing with the theme of resurrection.The Restoration
The very first rule of antique restoration is simple - The best restoration is the least restoration. This means don't do anything that significantly alters the current condition of the painting unless it's really necessary. In order to do it right I contacted a friend of mine who's a professional antique restoration expert who works as a consultant for several art galleries and museums. The first step was to set the rolled up painting outside in the sunlight to warm up the paint so that it does not crack when the painting is unrolled.
Next step was to borrow an air compressor to blow off all the old surface dust. Then we used a large draftsman's brush to gently brush away any remaining dust on the painting. Fortunately that was all the restoration the painting needed thanks to the fact that it had been safely rolled up for most of it's life. The final step was to photograph and create this web page to present the story of the "Lost Painting".