A painting which has featured on the Antiques Roadshow has been authenticated as an original Sir Anthony Van Dyck portrait, worth in the region of £400,000. The painting was purchased by Father Jamie MacLeod for £400 from a local antiques shop. Father Jamie who is in charge of a North Derbyshire retreat house showed the painting to the Roadshow team at in Cirencester, Gloucestershire in June 2013. He will now sell the 17th Century Flemish masterpiece buy new church bells.
The portrait was identified after Fiona Bruce, showed the work to expert Philip Mould, who thought it might be the genuine article. After restoration, the painting was verified by Dr Christopher Brown, one of the world authorities on Van Dyck. The painting depicts a Brussels Magistrate and is thought to have been executed as a study for a well known 1634 work showing seven magistrates.
Ms 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.” Mr Mould said: “Discoveries of this type are exceptionally rare. “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.”
The National Portrait Gallery is currently trying to raise £12.5m to keep another Sir Anthony Van Dyck portrait in the UK. The National Portrait Gallery and the Art Fund have launched an appeal to raise £12.5 million and save the last self-portrait of Sir Anthony Van Dyck for the nation. The painting has been in a British private collection for nearly 400 years but has been sold to a private collector who now wishes to take it abroad. This is the only chance a museum or a gallery in the United Kingdom has of acquiring the masterpiece.
Born in Antwerp in 1599, Van Dyck was an artistic prodigy who worked as an assistant to Peter Paul Rubens. He came to Britain in 1632 at the invitation of King Charles I, making London his home until his death in 1641. Charles I was Van Dyck’s most famous patron, rewarding him with a knighthood and the title of Principal Painter. Van Dyck established himself at the heart of the English court, producing magnificent portraits of the royal family and many courtiers. However, beneath the shimmering surface of the court was a sense of growing unease. The late 1630s were a time of political upheaval and by the end of 1642 civil war had broken out in Scotland and England. Within a year of producing this portrait Van Dyck was dead, buried in Old St Paul’s Cathedral with the epitaph: ‘Anthony VanDyck – who, while he lived, gave to many immortal life’.
Donations to the National Portrait Gallery’s Van Dyck Self-Portrait Appeal can be made online