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Masterpiece worth £255,000 found on wall of empty London bungalow

Masterpiece worth £255,000 found on wall of empty London bungalow
‘Depiction of Madonna and Child’ by Filippino Lippi, a student of Boticelli, is sold at auction

A masterpiece oil painting found hanging on the wall of an empty bungalow in north Londres has sold for more than a quarter of a million pounds at auction.

The Depiction of the Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi, a student of Boticelli, was painted in the fifteenth century.

It had hung inconspicuously on the wall of a house in Enfield for years, with its owner unaware it was worth a fortune. A 90-year-old woman with dementia, who has not been named, owns the painting after her father gave it to her more than 30 anos atrás.

She has been living in a care home since last year and her family recently put the bungalow up for sale to help pay the costs. It was only then that her family found out that the oil painting was worth a quarter of a million pounds. They had no idea about the painting, its history or its value.

It was discovered during a routine valuation of the contents of a house by Dawsons Auctioneers valuer Siobhan Tyrrell, who has appeared on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. The oil on canvas painting, which measures 50cm x 43.5cm, fetched £255,000 when it went under the hammer at auction.

Mais que 20 people from all around the world put in bids but it was eventually sold to a British buyer. 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.”

Mrs Tyrrell, head of valuations at the auctioneers said: “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, adicionado: “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.”

Filippino Lippi is believed to have been born in Italy in 1457 and was a pupil of Botticelli. His canon of work includes frescoes and altarpieces alongside paintings.

While his work is often eclipsed by that of his father, Fra Filippo Lippi, and younger artists Raphael and Michelangelo, it is still regarded as an important influence on High Renaissance artists.

Dawsons Auctioneers specialise in fine art, jewellery and antiques.