THERE was a real ‘Antiques Roadshow’ moment expert Ian Marr visited a home in Petworth.
Mr Marr, who specialises in antiquarian books, had been asked to call at the home to look at some books which the owner was considering putting up for auction.
But as he walked through the house he suddenly spotted a portrait which immediately had all sorts of bells ringing.
Despite the protestations of the owner who thought the picture was a ‘worthless depiction of a nun’ Mr Marr knew he was having one of those rare ‘attic find’ moments.
On further examination Mr Marr, who is a specialist for the Fernhurst based auctioneers John Nicholson, discovered his first thoughts had been correct.
It turned out to be a 16th painting of an English Royal matriarch to rival Queen Victoria.
The picture was of Margaret Beaufort, later Lady Margaret Tudor, mother of King Henry VII, grandmother of Henry VIII and great grandmother of Elizabeth I.
Ian Marr explained: “This is a remarkable find that had been unwittingly kept in an attic for several years by the owner, who had no idea of its significance.
“Thought to have been painted not long after her death in 1509,
it is one of a number of contemporary portraits of her that have survived over the following 500 years and, as such, while worth a significant amount, is not a work to bring life-changing sums.”
“Nonetheless, most other portraits of Lady Margaret of this level of importance are in institutional collections, so to find one still in private hands is significant in itself.”
The painting was estimated to go under the hammer for somewhere £600 and £800.
But much to the delight of the Petworth owner, it has sold for £2000.