Rare painting found in empty house sold for £255,000 by Maidenhead auctioneers

Shay Bottomley

Rare painting found in empty house sold for £255,000 by Maidenhead auctioneers

A rare painting discovered inside an empty London house has been sold for more than a quarter of a million pounds by a Maidenhead-based auctioneers. 

The 16th century piece, by Renaissance painter Filippino Lippi, is a depiction of the Madonna and Child with attendant angels, in a landscape canvas. 

It was found by Siobhan Tyrrell, head of valuations, during a routine valuation of the contents of the unoccupied bungalow in London. 

The painting, which measures 50cm x 43.5cm, fetched £255,000 when it went under the hammer at an online auction held by Dawsons Auctioneers, which recently moved into a new base in Clivemont Road

Although it attracted much international interest, the painting was eventually sold to a UK bidder, with the proceeds going towards the nursing home fees of the 90-year-old owner. 

Her family, who were in the process of selling the bungalow and its contents to help pay the fees, had no knowledge of the painting, its history or value and have since discovered their relative had inherited it from her father more than 30 years ago.

Auctioneer Peter Mason said: “We had over 20 active bidders on the day but it became a two-horse race when we reached £100,000.

“We knew it would do well but the final hammer price exceeded our expectations.”

Siobhan, who is known for her appearances on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, added: “There was nothing exceptional in the house until I walked into the bedroom and saw the painting hanging, off kilter, above a bed. 

“Although I’m a general valuer and not a painting specialist, I recognised it was significant straight away.”

Aubrey Dawson, managing director at Dawsons, said: “As an international auction house, we sell many items of much higher value but this was special and gave the team a real buzz. 

“Most people watch programmes like Antiques Roadshow to see rare finds being discovered and we all secretly hope to find something lurking in our own attics.

“The discovery of this painting was one of those moments and the fact the owner and her family had no idea of its value made it all the more enjoyable for everyone concerned.”

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