Father Jamie MacLeod of Whaley Hall has been told the £400 painting he bought in an antique shop in Nantwich is a genuine Van Dyck portrait, worth up to £400,000. Father Jamie, leader of the religious centre and retreat overlooking the beautiful Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge, took the painting to the Antiques Roadshow. Presenter Fiona Bruce ‘had a hunch’ the painting was valuable – she had studied the Flemish painter for a TV programme.
Now after months of tests and restoration, Dr Christopher Brown, a world expert on Van Dyck, has verified Father Jamie’s picture. It becomes the most valuable painting identified in the programme’s 36-year history.
Father Jamie says he will now consider selling it and with the proceeds restore bells in Whaley Hall’s chapel as a memorial to the centenary of World War I. The picture is being securely held in London pending possible auction.
Viewers saw the moment Father Jamie was told of his good fortune on Antiques Roadshow on Sunday 29 December. After a tense few minutes, Fiona Bruce unveiled the painting and expert Philip Mould mentioned the value of £400,000. Father Jamie smiled broadly.
Sir Anthony Van Dyck was a leading painter at the court of King Charles I in London. He is regarded as one of the ‘Old Masters’. Father Jamie’s painting is a portrait of a Belgian magistrate, painted about 1634.
Screenshots courtesy of the BBC, see here