The Washington Post has yet another story of a valuable painting found in unlikely circumstances. This one was an unlocked vacation home that contained a Victorian painting by William Powell Frith whose early version of Derby Day will be auctioned in London in December with a £500k estimate:
It had been hanging in a modest New England beach house for decades before a friend of the owner suggested it might be worth something. Christie’s won’t be more specific about the location because the owner wants to remain anonymous.
Brown said the vendor, who is in his 60s, believes his parents bought the painting some time before World War II, when Victorian art was often dismissed as garish and sentimental.
“It’s a testament to the change in fortunes of Victorian pictures over the last century that these things could have been acquired very cheaply indeed in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s,” said Brown.
Since the 1970s, critical opinion has changed, and works by the best Victorian artists are coveted by collectors.