The BBC’s Antiques Roadshow pulled off a coup over the holidays by proving that a van Dyck portrait previously thought to be a copy is, in fact, a work by the artist. Philip Mould adds to his list of discoveries in this almost improbable tale of a country priest who bought a painting for £400 more than a decade ago.
The work discovered on the show is a portrait of a magistrate of Brussels. It is believed to have been painted as part of the artist’s preparation for a 1634 work showing seven magistrates, which was eventually destroyed in a French attack on Brussels in 1695.
“Discoveries of this type are exceptionally rare”, said Mr Mould. “The painting’s emergence from beneath layers of paint was dramatic.
“It’s been revealed as a thrilling example of van Dyck’s skills of direct observation that made him so great a portrait painter.”