A painting brought into the British version of “Antiques Roadshow” has been authenticated as a genuine work by 17th century Flemish master Anthony van Dyck. Father Jamie McLeod paid just £400 in 2001 (about $575 at the time) for the painting in a Cheshire antiques shop.
Fiona Bruce, the presenter of the television show, which tours the UK valuing people’s normally modest antiques, is credited with the discovery.
Bruce first saw the painting after she had just finished – coincidentally – making another television show about the Flemish painter, spending weeks “looking at nothing but Van Dyck paintings”. She consulted with experts Philip Mould and Christopher Brown who identified the long-lost portrait of a Brussels magistrate to be by van Dyck. They gave an estimated value of £400,000 (about $660,000).
Father McLeod hopes to sell the portrait and buy new bells for his church, “to commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War in 2018,” he said.
It is now the most valuable painting ever discovered on the Antiques Roadshow, which has been running for 36 years.
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.”