A painting bought for £400 that was revealed to be a Van Dyck portrait when it was taken along to an episode of Antiques Roadshow is expected to sell for around £500,000 when it goes under the hammer later this year.
The work was bought 12 years ago by Father Jamie MacLeod from an antiques shop in Cheshire and was identified after the show’s host, Fiona Bruce, saw it and thought it might be genuine.
Bruce, who was making a programme about the Belgian artist with expert Philip Mould, asked him to look at it and after a lengthy restoration process the painting was verified by Dr Christopher Brown who is one of the world’s greatest authorities on Van Dyck.
Fr MacLeod, who runs a retreat in the Peak District, said: “It has been a blessing to own this magnificent portrait which has given me great pleasure over the years.
“I will be sad to part with it, though the proceeds will be put to excellent use, going towards the acquisition of new church bells for Whaley Hall Ecumenical Retreat House in Derbyshire to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World in 2018.”
The painting is believed to be a sketch for a work called the Magistrates of Brussels which hung in the city’s Town Hall until it was destroyed by a French attack in 1695.
It goes on public view at Christie’s New York from today to June 3, then in London from July 5 to 8 when it will be sold at the auction house’s London sale of Old Master and British Paintings.