People love to watch the BBC program Antiques Roadshow to see the surprised faces of visitors whose items have been valued very high. Sometimes, however, the opposite happens. A man who recently brought in a portrait he thought was worth around a million pounds was sorely disappointed to find out it was worth only a fraction of that amount.
The portrait was thought to be a Peter Lely painting worth a considerable amount of money. It had been bought in an auction in 1845 by a member of the present owner’s family, and the auction house at the time had listed it as a Lely painting from the 17th century. If it was genuine, the portrait would be now worth around a million pounds.
The owner showed the Antiques Roadshow expert the 1845 auction catalogue that said the painting was genuine, but the expert pointed out that auction houses at that time were not very accurate in their item descriptions. When he examined the painting, he declared that it was a copy. The painting used gaudier colours than Lely used and the brushwork was poor. It had a brown finish to make it look older than it was. The expert told the disappointed owner that it was probably worth around £600, not a million.
Unlike 19th century auction houses, reputable Lancashire antique dealers make sure that all their paintings and antique dining tables , chests and other furniture are described accurately and, if copies, are sold as such.
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