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Guests at the launch of The Provenance Diary were treated to an evening of enthralling stories and fine music. Professor Alastair Blanshard, one of Australia's leading experts on classics and ancient history held the audience captivated with his stories about looted art and antiquity, while three superb musicians delivered a recital of Bach, Beethoven and Richard Strauss. Truly a night to remember.

From left: Guest speaker, Professor Alastair Blanchard; Master of Ceremonies, Peter Mason; author, David Erskine waiting in the wings; mezzo soprano, Hilary O'Neill; cellist, Robert Truman; and concert pianist, Janet Brewer delighting all with musical anecdotes.

CURTAIN CALL: Peter Mason brings back the entertainers for a final hurrah.
From right: Robert Truman, Janet Brewer, Hilary O'Neill, and author
David Erskine, who surprised everyone with a magic illusion routine to end the night.


Professor Alastair Blanshard
The recovery of ancient artefacts and historical treasures looted by the Taliban, ISIS and other terror organisations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, were among the topics discussed at a multi-faceted event in Noosa recently by Professor Alastair Blanshard, one of Australia’s leading experts on classics and ancient history. The event was the launch of a new book, “The Provenance Diary”, by Noosa-based author David Erskine. Set against the backdrop of World War 2, when hundreds of thousands of works of art were looted by the Nazis, the book – fiction but based loosely on factual events – follows the efforts of a multinational team to track down these stolen masterpieces and return them to their rightful owners. Professor Blanshard, who is the Deputy Head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry and holds the Paul Eliades Chair of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, says the book opens a fresh window on a controversial subject which, because of recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, has once again sprung into prominence.
He describes David Erskine’s take of the subject as “a timely and well-researched work which deals with the trade in looted art and antiquities in a suspenseful and enjoyable fashion”, adding: “It chimes with both my work and my personal interest. It’s an excellent read and shines the spotlight on a subject which has a real relevance in today’s world.”

by Peter Mason