£400,000 Van Dyck portrait bought for just £400 rings bell

Fiona Bruce
Fiona Bruce
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IT’S the television show that has recovered rare Fabergé jewels, forgotten heirlooms and now a rare Van Dyck portrait worth £400,000 which had been been bought for just £400.

The painting was taken along to the Antiques Roadshow in 
Newstead Abbey, near Nottingham, last year by priest Father Jamie MacLeod, who now plans to sell it to buy new church bells.

It 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 in a Cheshire antiques shop, is the most valuable painting to ever be identified in the show’s 36-year history.

Father MacLeod, who runs a retreat in the Peak District, said: “I bought it because it was a case of buying a portrait or buying a bookcase, and I decided 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.”

Father MacLeod said selling the portrait was “a very difficult decision” but it would help him in his ambition to install new church bells in 2018 to mark the anniversary of the end of First World War.

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.

The work, which featured in last night’s programme, 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.