The brief was to source artworks relating to our clients’ family, an old aristocratic line from Gloucestershire. We spotted an unusual painting coming up at a regional auction house (Reeman Dansie auctioneers in North Essex), and realised two of the painted subjects were our client's ancestors.
The picture shows them as young children, clutching an oval portrait of their deceased mother, and the artist is believed to have been from the circle of Sir Peter Lely (1618 -1680), one of the most successful portrait painters in 17th century Britain.
We went to view the painting as our clients’ curiosity had been piqued.
Despite a heavy layer of discoloured varnish, the work was otherwise in fine shape. We knew that removing the varnish would reveal the full strength of colours as they were originally.
We advised on an appropriate bidding level using both trade and auction comparables, and our clients were delighted when they secured the painting. We had the work transported straight to our conservator who has done an excellent job taking off the varnish and bringing the picture back to life.
Now the triple portrait has been shipped to Gloucestershire where it hangs alongside its familial companions.