A head study by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) that was discovered on collector's favourite TV programme The Antiques Roadshow has been consigned to Christie's Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale.
The remarkable piece is a preparatory work for Van Dyck's magnificent full-length portrait The Magistrates of Brussels, which was created around 1634 but subsequently destroyed in 1695. Dating to the pinnacle of his career, the study was originally bought for just £400.
A high estimate of £500,000 (837,620) has been given ahead of the July 8 auction, which will take place at Christie's London showrooms.
The work was found by Father Jamie MacLeod in a Cheshire, UK antiques shop, having been overlooked by scholars due to a later over-paint. The original work was only revealed following cleaning and restoration.
There are only three other known studies for The Magistrates of Brussels picture. The present example will be exhibited for the first time at Christie's New York from May 31 to June 3. Proceeds from the sale will go towards new church bells for Whaley Hall Ecumenical Retreat House.
"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," commented Father MacLeod.
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