The BBC One program Antiques Roadshow has discovered a “lost masterpiece” by 17th Century master Anthony van Dyck.
A priest in Nottingham, Father Jaime, had purchased the painting for $660, and brought it to a filming of Antiques Roadshow to be professionally appraised. Host Fiona Bruce initially thought the painting a fake, but something about it caught her eye.
She had just “spent weeks looking at nothing but Van Dyck paintings” with art expert Philip Mould, and suspected it might be genuine, so she called him in and he believed it was worth investigating.
After months of careful restoration, the pair consulted Van Dyck expert Christopher Brown, who verified it as a genuine Van Dyck worth approximately $661,000.
“Discoveries of this type are exceptionally rare,” Mould said. “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.”
“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,” said Bruce. “I’m so pleased for Father Jamie.”
It is the most valuable painting ever discovered by the program in its 36 years on air.
Watch an excerpt from the painting’s revealing on Antiques Roadshow below.