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