‘Antique Shop’ Van Dyck Heads to Auction

Anthony van Dyck, preparatory sketch for The Magistrates of Brussels (ca. 1634). Courtesy of Christie's London.

A sketch by Anthony van Dyck bought for £400 in an antique shop 12 years ago will hit the auction block at Christie’s London on July 8, where it isexpected to fetch up to £500,000. The piece, which is now recognized as a preparatory drawing for Van Dyck’s group portrait The Magistrates of Brussels, was painted in the Belgian capital in 1634-35, at the peak of the artist’s career. While the final work was destroyed during French bombardment of Brussels in the late 17th century, this new discovery is said to be comparable to other preparatory sketches for the piece currently held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and in a private collection.

Father Jamie MacLeod was the lucky purchaser of the work, and he had it valued during the BBC television program The Antiques Road Show. He now hopes to raise enough money to acquire new church bells for Whaley Hall Ecumenical Retreat House in Derbyshire, in time to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

“It has been a blessing to own this magnificent portrait which has given me great pleasure over the years,” MacLeod commented. “I will be sad to part with it, though the proceeds will be put to excellent use.”’

The piece will be on public view for the first time ahead of the sale, from July 5 to 8, 2014.

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