Small painting bought at auction uncovered as valuable Constable

Tue Sep 3, 2013 10:22am EDT
 
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - A small painting bought at an auction and kept in a cupboard for years, has been revealed as an original by British painter John Constable worth an estimated 250,000 pounds ($400,000).

The postcard-size painting, bought for 30 pounds in the British city of Canterbury around a decade ago, depicts a landscape by the 19th century artist and has been described as a "lost item" by the man who uncovered its origins.

Antiques dealer and forgeries expert Curtis Dowling told Reuters he and his team spent about nine months studying the painting after the owner, Rob Darvell, asked for their help.

Darvell's father, who bought the painting suspecting it may be an original because of the faint signature on the back, had given him the painting as he was clearing his house.

"It's a fairly standard stock sort of Constable painting. It's quite interesting in that it's small, which you don't see that often. It's something we've never seen before ... It's really actually been quite a lost item," Dowling said.

"Our investigation confirms this thing has passed through a number of hands over the years and it's never been sold - it's a fresh-to-the-market, sweet little item."

Constable, born in Suffolk, is famous for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, now known as Constable Country. His most famous work "The Hay Wain", painted in 1821, now features on millions of prints hanging on walls around the world.

In May, the Tate Britain museum bought Constable's "Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows" for 23.1 million pounds, making it one of the most expensive British paintings ever sold.   Continued...