JUST TOO COOL – UK: Priest buys lost Van Dyck for £400

You just never know what you might have in your attic or find in a shop.

From Express:

Antiques Roadshow discovery: Van Dyck masterpiece bought for just £400 is worth £400,000

A PORTRAIT bought for £400 has been revealed as a long-lost van Dyck, worth at least £400,000 after examination at the Antiques Roadshow.

Father Jamie McLeod, a Catholic priest, brought the painting to the show after it was originally purchased in a Cheshire ­antiques shop, with no mention of the 17th century painter.

It was correctly identified as a masterpiece after the show’s host, Fiona Bruce, saw it and thought it might be genuine.

She had been making a show about van Dyck with art expert Philip Mould and it seemed to her to be remarkably similar in style to the ones she had seen featured in the programme.

After the roadshow, held at Newstead ­Abbey in Nottinghamshire, Mr Mould agreed to look at it. Following a lengthy restoration process, the painting was verified as a van Dyck by Dr Christopher Brown, one of the world’s authorities on the artist. The portrait, which is the most valuable to be identified in the 34-year history of the Antiques Roadshow, will now be sold to raise funds for new church bells.

Father McLeod, who runs a retreat house in the Peak District, said: “This has been an emotional experience and is such great news. It’s wonderful that new church bells, hopefully, will be pealing out to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in 2018.” Sir Anthony van Dyck was the leading court painter for King Charles I and is regarded as one of the great masters of the 17th century.


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  1. sawdustmick says:

    Dear Reverend Father, I think you will find that the Priest mentioned belongs to the “Old Catholic Church” http://www.oldcatholicchurchuk.com/ [I guess that means that the painting ISN’T a Van Dyck and that it is NOT worth £400K.]

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Being a Cavalier lady at heart, I love Van Dyck. He was a Catholic, of course, and died one, despite a rather extravagant lifestyle. We owe most of the portraits of Charles I and his queen to Van Dyck.

    It is sad that this painter died so young-42. Another one of those meteor-like geniuses which God gives to us drab ones…

    There is a connection between the Arundel and Brighton Diocese and Van Dyck, who visited the son of St. Philip Howard’s art collection at one point and was inspired. This 21st Earl of Arundel amassed one of the best collections of Renaissance and Baroque art ever, a collection now in several places. The Earl had portraits of himself done by both Rubens, Van Dyck’s mentor, as well as Van Dyck.

    I would like to think that Van Dyck, who died in the arms of the Church, is smiling at his work being sold for bells.

    Very cool…

  3. Organorum says:

    Perhaps I might clear up a point here. The Revd Jamie McLeod belongs to a purportedly Old Catholic jurisdiction which does not have valid Orders. Just over a year ago he joined the Old Catholic Church UK without letters dimissory from his bishop, thus laicising himself anyway. I am also an Old Catholic priest, but my Orders are utterly valid – a fact recently acknowledged by a Roman Catholic bishop here in the UK. Oh, by the way, the Van Dyck is completely valid, and I would expect it to sell for a lot more than £400,000!

  4. sawdustmick says:

    Dear Reverend Father, I was not trying to be clever just highlighting a fact. The story of the painting is quite remarkable.

  5. James C says:

    Heh. Anglo-Catholic ministers in the Church of England used to get validly ordained by Old Catholic bishops under the Union of Utecht, in a response to Pope Leo’s 1896 declaration of the invalidity of Anglican orders. It’s often called the “Dutch touch”—how appropriate!

  6. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In 1958, Stephen Neill wrote, “Probably about half the Anglican episcopate now has the Old Catholic as well as the Anglican succession, and before long this is likely to be true of the whole episcopate.” Two sentences later he notes, “No Anglican imagines that anything is added to his consecration or ordination by Old Catholic participation”.

    I had never heard of there being an Old Catholic Church UK or of any “purportedly Old Catholic jurisdiction” distinct from it. Incidentally, I see that R.R.T. Brandreth’s Episcopi Vagantes and the Anglican Church was reissued (apparently without being revised or updated) in 2006: has it any sequel(s) for the past half-century?

    A tiny plodding addition to Supertradmum’s comment: Queen Henrietta Maria was also a Catholic and was provided for as such, as was, eventually, at least one of the five royal children in Van Dyke’s 1737 group portrait, James II.

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Sorry! – “H.R.T.”!

  8. rcg says:

    ROME – When Jorge Bergoglio got a chance for a new job in Rome, he jumped at it. He knew finding a place to live would be a challenge, especially if he wanted to be close to work. He couldn’t afford to bring much with him from his small apartment in Buenos Aires so he looked for a furnished apartment in town. “The first place I found was terrific, but it was too big and just not ‘me'”. Jorge is known to watch soccer and was afraid he might mar some of the furniture if he hosted a party during the World Cup. “I found a smaller place with simpler furnishings”, that was also near people he liked to visit before work. “But I found out that place had loads of old stuff in it, too!” Just how old would turn out to be a real eye-opener for Jorge.

  9. Organorum says:

    “Probably about half the Anglican episcopate now has the Old Catholic as well as the Anglican succession, and before long this is likely to be true of the whole episcopate.” “No Anglican imagines that anything is added to his consecration or ordination by Old Catholic participation”.

    It’s the second sentence which I find interesting. I have always been sceptical about the involvement of Union of Utrecht bishops at Anglican consecrations, even more so now seeing that the Union now has women in all three Major Orders. As we know, there has to be correct matter, form, and intention for the valid administration of the Sacraments, so I am dubious about the form and intention of Anglican Orders. Of course, women bishops in some parts of the Anglican “Communion” effectively puts the tin lid on matter as well!

    Having been a member of the Church of England for many years (until I left a few years ago) I know bishops and priests (mainly Anglo-Catholics) who genuinely believe in matter, form, and intention, but the majority these days have such a disregard for such things as to make the “sacraments” which they perform totally invalid. Even the “Dutch touch” can’t help in this situation.

    I didn’t know that Brandreth’s book had been republished in 2006. I see that Peter Anson’s book “Bishops at large” was also republished in the same year by the same publisher. Both of these books were rather sensationalist and full of inaccuracies, and the first edition of Brandreth’s book had to be withdrawn and revised to avoid a libel action. This first edition is now quite rare, and quite valuable. Apart from the historical aspect I can’t see much point in reprinting these books unless they are completely revised and brought up to date.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I have read today that in the face of grumping that the money should be given to the poor rather than spent on bells, Jamie MacLeod has decided to try to find donors to fund the bells and, if successful, museums willing to display the painting to make it accessible to the public as part of the national heritage.

    Thank you for your details about Brandreth’s – and Anson’s – books. I once browsed around in a copy of Brandreth’s (I now suppose, revised edition!), and it looked fascinating. Two Amazon reviews of it are interesting for their combinations of taking to task and yet still commending…

    Thank you, too, for your Anglican and Old Catholic observations. I do not have a detailed enough sense of many things: is there, for example, any official difference in approach to the Union of Utrecht on the one hand and the Polish National Catholic Church on the other, or the Anglican Provinces which do, and those which do not, ordain women and also those Anglicans who did not remain in communiom with Canterbury when such ordaining began? The most I have ever seen in the former case were tiny news items which suggested an alarming cordiality of contact with the Union of Utrecht, but more information might show such alarm uncalled for.

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