Category: Discoveries

Canova virtual tour

June 23 2022

Image of Canova virtual tour

Picture: Christie's

Christie's have made a virtual tour of one of their star lots in the forthcoming Old Master sales, a lost Recumbant Magdalene by Antonia Canova. You can zoom around it here. The statue will be auctioned on 7th July, estimated at £5m-£7m. It was discovered in 2002 in a garden statuary sale, for about £5,000. Literally, a sleeping sleeper!

Christina, Queen of Sweden's Titian Coming up for Sale

April 5 2022

Image of Christina, Queen of Sweden's Titian Coming up for Sale

Picture: Dorotheum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Dorotheum auction house in Vienna have announced that they will be offering a rediscovered Titian later in May. The painting of The Penitent Magdalen, of which many versions are known, was in the collection of Christina (1626-1689), Queen of Sweden during the seventeenth century. The provenance of the work is rather intriguing, as it later passed into the collections of Pierre Crozat and later Philippe II Duke of Orleans. It finally arrived in Britain during the 1790s. The attribution has been supported by Professor Paul Joannides and the exact provenance was researched and established by Dr Carlo Corsato.

The painting will be offered for sale on 11th May 2022 carrying an estimate of €1m - €1.5m.

Rembrandt, not Flinck

April 1 2022

Image of Rembrandt, not Flinck

Picture: Gemäldegalerie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin have announced that their Landscape with Arched Bridge is by Rembrandt after all. A reassessment of the picture, instigated by a David Hockney exhibition it seems, has concluded that the work is by Rembrandt's own hand. The picture had been given to Govaert Flinck for many years until recent technical analysis has proven otherwise.

According to the article linked above:

X-rays showing changes and corrections that had been made to the work helped confirm Rembrandt as its creator. [Berlin curator Katja] Kleinert said experts were unanimous in their verdict. 

Comparisons were made with a very similar composition by Rembrandt, called Landscape with Stone Bridge at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which the Gemäldegalerie’s director, Dagmar Hirschfeld – herself a Rembrandt expert – said shared hallmarks typical for him. 

“You quite often get pairs of paintings, where you have the impression he is trying to do the same again, but in another style of painting or to optimise what he has already achieved,” she said. Analysis of the painting in Berlin, which the gallery acquired in 1924, showed how Rembrandt had made radical changes to the work during its creation, including shifting the position of a storm cloud, reducing the size of a hill and making changes to a group of trees. These processes in turn made the painting more compact and dense.

The landscape will be featured in the gallery's latest exhibition David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue.

Rediscovered Gabriel Loppé Mountain Views up for Sale

March 9 2022

Video: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The French auction house Artcurial have made this video about a pair of monumental Mountain landscapes by Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913) in their upcoming sale. The canvases of The Matterhorn seen from the Gornergrat and The Mer de Glace and the Grands Charmoz, Chamonix both sent to London in 1874 where they were displayed in a gallery in Conduit Street. The paintings had been considered lost until they were rediscovered rolled up in cylindrical shipping boxes in 2014. The video features the independent expert William Mitchell who catalogued the pictures for auction.

They will be sold on 23rd March 2022 carrying estimates of €300k - €400k and €350k - €450k respectively.

Queen Victoria's Japanese Screens Rediscovered in the Royal Collection

March 8 2022

Image of Queen Victoria's Japanese Screens Rediscovered in the Royal Collection

Picture: The Evening Standard

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Evening Standard have shared news that several Japanese painted screens have been rediscovered in The Royal Collection. These large screens, which were part of a diplomatic gift received in 1860, will be put on display for the first time later in April.

According to the article:

Eight pairs of screen paintings were sent by the Japanese shogun Tokugawa Iemochi shortly after Japan’s reopening to the West, following more than two centuries of deliberate isolation. 

The opulent gift to Victoria marked a landmark treaty that reopened seven Japanese ports and cities to British trade and allowed a British diplomat to reside in Japan for the first time.

But the screens were wrongly catalogued as Japanese works by an unidentified artist when they arrived,  and their links to Shogun Iemochi and their historical significance were lost.

It was also found that the pieces – featuring two to three layers of paper rather than the usual six to nine – were hastily produced, probably due to a huge fire in Edo Castle in Tokyo which would have destroyed the original versions before they could be sent to Victoria.

The RCT's exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture will open at the Queen's Gallery on 8th April 2022 and run until 12th March 2023.

Gwrych Castle acquires Portrait

March 3 2022

Image of Gwrych Castle acquires Portrait


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rhyl Journal in Wales have published news that the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust has acquired a portrait which was previously thought to be lost. The picture depicts Marianne Jones-Bateman (1799-1874), a figure who played an important part in the local history of neighbouring Abergele.

According to the article:

Mark Baker, chairperson of the trust, said: “She was a force of nature locally and her diaries, which are in the National Library of Wales, are a great source for learning about life in Abergele nearly 200 years ago.

“This portrait hung at Gwrych Castle from 1902 and disappeared from the records in 1928. 

“We believe it dates to about 1825 and the time of Marianne's marriage. 

“In the 1870s, the house was said to house 'many interesting works of art, including several family portraits by Richard Wilson, and one by Beechey of Barbara Lisle Bowles, the great-great-great niece of Sir Isaac Newton'. 

“We believe Marianne's portrait is by an artist called Henry William Pickersgill RA (1782-1875), who was a noted painter, and his sitters were all the notables of the day.

Rembrandthuis loaned a rediscovered Jan Lievens

March 2 2022

Image of Rembrandthuis loaned a rediscovered Jan Lievens

Picture: @rembrandthuis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museum Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam have announced the loan of a recently rediscovered portrait by Jan Lievens. The Portrait of a Man with a Gold Chain dates to 1637/8 and has been loaned by its owners David and Michelle Berrong-Bader. Unfortunately, the sitter is yet to be identified.

Introducing the 'Viennese Salvator Mundi'

March 2 2022

Image of Introducing the 'Viennese Salvator Mundi'

Picture: KHM

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Kunsthistoriches Museum (KHM) in Vienna have shared news that it has completed a research project which has reattributed a painting to Titian. The museum embarked on the campaign in 2021 to investigate whether the following Christ with a Globe or the Viennese Salvator Mundi (as some have been calling it) could be the work of Titian during the 1520s. As is so often the case, the oil on canvas bears some old damages and rather unsympathetic overpainting (visible in the hair, nose and right eye, it seems).

X-rays have revealed that the present work was painted on top of a Virgin and Child:

The museum have started a crowdfunding campaign to have the work fully-restored in time for an exhibition in October 2022.

Mather Brown's rediscovered Death of Nelson up for sale

March 2 2022

Image of Mather Brown's rediscovered Death of Nelson up for sale


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rediscovered painting showing the Death of Nelson by Mather Brown (1761-1831) is to be unveiled at the The Chelsea Antiques & Fine Art Fair in London later this month. The picture was rediscovered in a private collection by the Nelson specialist and former-Sotheby's director Martyn Downer.

To quote the article linked above:

Martyn Downer explains: “Mather Brown was one of a small group of artists – such as his fellow American Benjamin West, who were well known to Nelson in London. That familiarity is evident in Brown’s vivid and theatrical representation of Nelson receiving his fatal wound at the battle of Trafalgar which, amid the smoke of conflict, offers us one of the most compelling and well-informed late portraits of the admiral. The re-discovery of Brown’s bold attempt to win the 1805 competition for the best painting of the dramatic scene is an exciting moment for Nelson enthusiasts and for scholars of eighteenth-century art, especially for followers of this fascinating and complex artist.”  

The picture will be displayed at the Chelsea fair with an asking price of £350,000.

Farinelli's Paintings up for Sale (?)

February 17 2022

Image of Farinelli's Paintings up for Sale (?)


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from France that the auction house Aguttes will be offering two recently rediscovered pictures by Francesco Battaglioli (1725-1796) in March. The pictures have been identified by the scholar Mickaël Bouffard as opera stage sets for productions of Nitteti. This opera, with a libretto by Metastasis set to music by Nicola Conforto, was performed in 1756 at the Theatre of the Buen Retiro Palace on the occasion of the birthday of King Ferdinand VI.

Researchers have gone as far to suggest that the paintings might have belonged to the famous castrato Farinelli. The works have been linked to two others kept in Library-Museum of the Paris Opera, which were said to have been brought back by the singer as gifts from the Spanish court.

The pair will be sold on the 25th March 2022.

Is it a Reynolds?

February 9 2022

Video: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I'm sure that many loyal readers of AHN have already watched the last ever episode of Britain's Lost Masterpieces. However, if you have a UK TV License, and are curious to know whether Bendor and his team have uncovered a forgotten work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, then you'll be able to catch up here via. the BBC IPlayer.

Rediscovered Romney up for Sale

February 9 2022

Image of Rediscovered Romney up for Sale

Picture: Toovey's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some interesting news that a rediscovered portrait of Lady Laetitia Beauchamp-Proctor by George Romney is coming up for sale at Toovey's later this month. The picture was spotted in a private collection by consultant Tim Williams where it had been considered to be 'attributed to' Angelika Kauffman for some time. Romney's hand in the picture was finally confirmed by Alexander Kidson, who had included the work within his 2015 catalogue raisonné as 'whereabouts unknown'.*

According to the press release:

George Romney recorded Lady Beauchamp-Proctor’s seven sittings between 20th July and 16th August 1780, and the 18 guinea fee was paid to the artist on 5th May 1781. It was sent to Thomas Allwood for framing and is recorded in his framing book as ‘an oval 3/4 at a price of £2 12s 6d for Lady Beauchamp Proctor’.

* - Editors of future 'discovery' pieces take note, it's very good when recognised authorities are consulted as part of any story that deal with such things!

Christ & His Cousin: Renaissance Rediscoveries

January 31 2022

Image of Christ & His Cousin: Renaissance Rediscoveries

Picture: The National Gallery of Ireland

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin opened their latest exhibition over the weekend entitled Christ & His Cousin: Renaissance Rediscoveries. The show will be accompanied by some fascinating online talks and lectures too, which are worth browsing through.

According to the exhibition's blurb:

Over the last fifteen years, a selection of sixteenth-century Italian paintings from the national collection have been carefully conserved by the Gallery’s Head of Conservation, Simone Mancini. This free exhibition will showcase eight works depicting the Madonna and her infant child, Jesus Christ, with his cousin Saint John the Baptist. Many of these dramatically restored paintings have never been displayed before. Christ & His Cousin: Renaissance Rediscoveries will explore the symbolism and traditions that underpin these playful and lively compositions, and encourage visitors to reconsider what are often dismissed as conventional and familiar images.

This free exhibition will run until 8th May 2022.

Italian Warehouse Crucifix turns out to be Sixteenth Century

December 30 2021

Image of Italian Warehouse Crucifix turns out to be Sixteenth Century


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that a forsaken wooden crucifix rediscovered in a warehouse has been redisplayed in the Museo diocesano di Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, as an early sixteenth century original. The work, which has since been carefully restored, had been placed there long ago by a Parish church and was duly forgotten. It has since been dubbed Cristo salvato (the saved Christ).

Robert B. Simon Defends Salvator Mundi Attribution

December 23 2021

Image of Robert B. Simon Defends Salvator Mundi Attribution

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published a letter by the dealer Robert B. Simon defending the attribution of the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo. In particular, Simon explains that nowhere in the recent Prado exhibition catalogue Leonardo y la copia de Mona Lisa del Prado is an opinion expressed on the attribution of the picture.

To quote the piece:

It should be mentioned at the outset that in the catalogue no curator, conservator or official of the Museo del Prado expresses any opinion on the attribution of the painting, let alone downgrades it. Rather, as quoted in the article, Ana González Mozo, one of the five authors of the catalogue, reports, “Some specialists consider there was a now lost prototype, while others think the much debated Cook version is the original.”

The Art Newspaper have responded by quoting curator Ana González Mozo:

In her subsequent brief discussion about a Youthful Christ image, included in the same Salvator Mundi paragraph, she writes: “Once again [our emphasis] there is no painted prototype.” It is also notable that the Gulf (Cook) version is not among the 75 illustrations in the catalogue.

Burlington Magazine - Photography

December 1 2021

Image of Burlington Magazine - Photography

Picture: Private Collection via. The Burlington Magazine

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

December's edition of the The Burlington Magazine focuses on the art of Photography. As usual, there are many interesting pieces to be found, including articles on on the museum photographer Isabel Agnes Cowper, Maria Ponti Pasolini’s photographic archive, Nicéphore Niépce and the industry of photographic replication and Ilse Bing at Glyndebourne.

In fact, this month's edition contains my debut article for the magazine (please forgive the shameless plug). The article focuses on a photograph which fell out of a book whilst I was scouring through a private library. It turned out to be an unrecorded photograph of Ellen Terry by the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (pictured). Furthermore, it shows Terry in her wedding dress which was designed by William Holman Hunt. The photograph is, I believe, connected to George Frederic Watt's 1864 painting of Terry known as Choosing (NPG), which shows her in the same dress, necklace and profile pose. Find yourself a copy to read more.

Versailles Acquires Marie-Antoinette from Auction

November 26 2021

Image of Versailles Acquires Marie-Antoinette from Auction

Picture: Aguttes

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from France that the Palace of Versailles have stepped in to acquire Joseph-Siffred Duplessis's Portrait of Marie-Antoinette. The portrait sold at Aguttes auction house yesterday for €175,500 (inc. commission) over its €20k - €30k estimate.

Unrecorded Lawrence to lead Bonhams December Sale

November 24 2021

Image of Unrecorded Lawrence to lead Bonhams December Sale

Picture: Bonhams

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bonhams London have uploaded their upcoming December Old Master Paintings sale online. The sale will be held on 8th December 2021.

Their top lot is a previously unrecorded portrait by Thomas Lawrence, depicting Jane Allnutt with her pet spaniel. The artist is known to have painted several members of the Allnutt family, who made their fortune in selling wine and brandy.

The Lawrence will be sold on 8th December carrying an estimate of £150k - £250k.

Rediscovered Constable Study at Sotheby's

November 22 2021

Image of Rediscovered Constable Study at Sotheby's

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that this season's Old Masters sales will truly be the battle of the Constables.

Now that Sotheby's have uploaded their full catalogue note for Constable's study for Glebe Farm, one is able to appreciate what an interesting rediscovery the picture is. The provenance is particularly curious and raises the question of how such a notable picture could have been forgotten within such a short period of time. Despite having been publicly exhibited and passed through the hands through the likes of Arthur Tooth & Sons, the painting had been sold in October last year as 'After Constable' in a regional auction house in the US.

Probably the artist’s studio sale, London, Fosters, 15–16 May 1838, lot 13 (one of two in the lot, together with a ‘Salisbury Cathedral’), to Carpenter; Probably William Hookham Carpenter (1792–1866);  Probably his sale, London, Christie’s, 16 February 1867, lot 79, to Joseph Hogarth for £91 (a high price, suggesting a study of some importance);  With Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, circa, 1917;  Edward William Edwards (1874–1956), Cincinnati, by 1922;  By descent to his grandson, Thomas Edwards Davidson (1928–1994);  Thence by descent until sold, Cincinnati, Cowan’s Auctions, 2 October 2020, lot 3 (as after John Constable), where acquired by the present owner.

Furthermore, the auction house have also uploaded a full technical analysis undertaken by Sarah Cove, an interesting text which is worth reading too.

$30 Drawing turns out to be a Dürer

November 22 2021

Image of $30 Drawing turns out to be a Dürer

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have reported on news that the dealers Agnew's have revealed a recently rediscovered drawing by Albrecht Dürer. The work, which has since been authenticated by Christof Metzger, a curator at Vienna’s Albertina Museum, was purchased for a mere $30 at a house clearance in the US. Research has revealed other details including the watermark on the paper and artwork's provenance.

There has been speculation that the work on paper might now be worth up to $50m.


This will of course be great news to any serious fans of the National Gallery's current Dürer exhibition, in case they might want to pop over to Agnew's afterwards to purchase the ultimate souvenir.

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