Thursday, January 09, 2014

Derbyshire priest buys £400 painting - and discovers it's worth £400,000 on Antiques Roadshow

Derbyshire priest Father Jamie MacLeod discovers the  £400 painting he bought is worth £400,000 on Antiques Roadshow.A PAINTING bought for £400 by a Derbyshire priest has been revealed to be a van Dyck portrait worth around £400,000 after he took it to the Antiques Roadshow.

The painting was taken along to a roadshow in Newstead Abbey, near Nottingham, last year by Father Jamie MacLeod, who runs a retreat in Whaley Bridge. He now plans to sell it to buy new church bells.

The moment he discovered that it might be worth so much money is revealed on tonight's edition of the popular show, which starts at 7pm.

The painting was identified after the show's host, Fiona Bruce - who was making a show about the artist with expert Philip Mould - saw the painting and thought it might be genuine.

Mr Mould agreed to take a look at it and, after a lengthy restoration process, the painting was verified by Dr Christopher Brown - who is one of the world authorities on van Dyck.

The portrait, originally bought for £400 in a Cheshire antiques shop, is the most valuable painting to ever be identified in the show's 36-year history.

Father Jamie said, "It's been an emotional experience and it's such great news. It's wonderful that new church bells hopefully will be pealing out to commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War in 2018."

Anthony van Dyck was the leading court painter in England under King Charles I and is regarded as one of the masters of 17th-century art.

A self-portrait recently sold for £12.5 million sparking a fund-raising campaign to try to save the painting for the nation.

The work discovered on the show is a portrait of a Magistrate of Brussels, which is believed to have been painted as part of the artist's preparation for a 1634 work showing seven magistrates which was eventually destroyed in a French attack on Brussels in 1695.

Fiona Bruce said: "It's everyone's dream to spot a hidden masterpiece, I'm thrilled that my hunch paid off, to discover a genuine van Dyck is incredibly exciting. I'm so pleased for Father Jamie."

"Discoveries of this type are exceptionally rare," said Mr Mould. "The painting's emergence from beneath layers of paint was dramatic. It's been revealed as a thrilling example of van Dyck's skills of direct observation that made him so great a portrait painter."

Father Jamie said he bought the picture ten years ago.

He said: "I bought it because it was a case of buying a portrait or buying a bookcase, and I decided that I wanted both but that would be greedy. And so the portrait caught my eye. There was something about the portrait, something about him - the character, who in once sense looked rather an angry person but the more I looked at him and the years that went on the more I wanted to know more. Of course the truth of the matter is that we knew nothing about it."
Father Jamie said selling the portrait was "a very difficult decision" but having the bells would be good.

He said: "When we had lost all our soldiers through the war, nothing really happened regarding having bells hung or recast to commemorate those who had lost their lives. When we had the Second World War, this happened automatically up and down the country. I hope that this would be something that will happen all over the country, so that town halls and cities and villages and everywhere else will have church bells rung that will tell out the time but also be that reminder."

No comments: