‘Antiques Roadshow’ Turns Up Original van Dyck Painting

by Jillian Steinhauer on December 30, 2013

Antiques Roadshow has done it again! The British TV program has uncovered an exceptional art find: an original portrait by Anthony van Dyck. A priest named Father Jamie McLeod bought the painting, which boasts an in-frame label reading “Sir A. VAN DYCK,” in an antiques shop for £400 (~$660). When he brought it on the appraisal show, host Fiona Bruce said certain features made her wonder if it was really by the 17th-century Flemish painter. Bruce called in art expert Philip Mould, who quite dramatically (and hilariously) asks McLeod in the video above:

But, if this is to be by van Dyck, there’s only one way of finding out. The question is: are you prepared to commission a process of cleaning and restoration by which paint is radically removed, but later paint, to reveal what I hope could be an original work beneath?

McLeod assented, and after several months, Mould and a van Dyck expert named Dr. Christopher Brown determined that the painting is in fact by the Baroque artist. It’s believed to be a preparatory study of the Magistrate of Brussels, for a 1634 work depicting seven magistrates that was later destroyed.

The painting’s new value? £400,000 (~$660,000), which McLeod plans to spend on a set of church bells. It’s not quite as much as the $800,000–$1 million early Diego Rivera painting found on the American version of Antiques Roadshow earlier this year, but it is “the most valuable painting” ever discovered on the British program, which has been on the air since 1979.

  • Subscribe to the Hyperallergic newsletter!

Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted. For more details please read our comment policy.
  • Godbluff

    I bet the person that sold it to him for £400 is a tad gutted.

  • JJ
  • Kris Åsard

    So whoever “finished” the sketch is summarily deleted by historians, just like that? Just imagine what future generations will make of our “remix culture”.
    “Well, Jamie, we removed the Banksy with a rag of turpentine and look; we found an signed Thomas Kinkade print underneath!” :)

    • Jillian Steinhauer

      As I understand it, it wasn’t someone else who “finished” the sketch; someone else (or someone elses) painted over the original. It’s the same restoration process that happens with murals in buildings that have been “fixed” and “touched up” and painted over through the years.

Previous post:

Next post: