Fiona Bruce uncovers Van Dyck painting on Antiques Roadshow

A lost Van Dyck painting worth an estimated £400,000 ($661,080) has been uncovered during filming of an episode of the Antiques Roadshow in Nottingham, UK - after presenter Fiona Bruce's hunch paid off.

The painting was previously sold as a copy in the style of the artist and was bought by a local priest, Father Jamie Macleod, for just £400 ($661). Macleod brought it along to the programme to get it valued, with a view to putting the money towards new church bells.

Van Dyck Peter Snayers
Van Dyck (1599-1641) was a portrait artist whose style became the benchmark for subsequent generations of painters

Fortunately Bruce had just finished filming a show with Phillip Mould, an art expert, and had "spent weeks looking at nothing but Van Dyck paintings".

She commented: "It's everyone's dream to spot a hidden masterpiece, I'm thrilled that my hunch paid off, to discover a genuine Van Dyck is incredibly exciting. I'm so pleased for Father Jamie."

It has been identified as a portrait of a Belgian magistrate - believed to have been a preparatory work for a larger painting that was destroyed in 1695 during the bombardment of Brussels.

Layers of paint had to be removed during hours of painstaking restoration work before the painting could be verified as genuine.

Phillip Mould commented: "Discoveries of this type are exceptionally rare.

"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."

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