Priest Finds Genuine Van Dyck

A painting recently featured on the BBC’s “Antiques Roadshow” television program was revealed to be a genuine masterpiece of 17th century Flemish artist Anthony Van Dyck.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network are astounded at this stroke of collector's luck.

The portrait was bought by Father Jamie MacLeod, pictured here with show co-host Fiona Bruce, for 400 pounds ($660).

Macleod runs a retreat house in the Peak District in northwest England. The painting was taken along to a recording of the Antiques Roadshow in Newstead Abbey, near Nottingham,

The painting is now worth an estimated 400,000 pounds, after it underwent cleaning and restoration to determine its origin, according to a posting on BBC’s website.

The identity of the painting as a Van Dyck was suspected by Bruce, who asked specialists to confirm it, according to the clip on the BBC’s website.

The work was identified after the program's host, Fiona Bruce, who was making a show about the artist with expert Philip Mould, saw the painting and wondered whether it was genuine.

Mr Mould agreed to take a look at it and after weeks of cleaning and the removal of a top coat of 18th-century paint, the painting was verified by Christopher Brown, one of the world's leading authorities on Van Dyck.

The painting was authenticated by Van Dyck specialist Christopher Brown as a genuine piece by the Flemish artist.

Van Dyck, born in 1599, was a court painter in England under King Charles I. The work is a portrait of a Magistrate of Brussels and probably was made by the artist in preparation for a 1634 work showing seven magistrates, according to the BBC.

MacLeod said: ''It's been an emotional experience and it's such great news.'' Ms Bruce said: ''It's everyone's dream to spot a hidden masterpiece. I'm thrilled that my hunch paid off.''

The Flemish artist became the leading court painter in England under Charles I and his works hang in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and in other museums and galleries around the world.

MacLeod wants to sell the painting and buy new church bells from the proceeds, he told the program.