During a classic episode of Antiques Roadshow, a guest brought in an “exquisite” enamel painting by Henry Bone, a prolific artist from the 1820s. Inspecting the artwork was expert Philip Mould, who was the official art adviser to the House of Commons and the House of Lords between the years 1988 and 2011. The guest eagerly observed while the TV specialist gave a detailed analysis on the portrait, which showed Mary, Queen of Scots, and later revealed its staggering value.
Philip began: “When you see a work like this, which is done in enamel, you get just a sense of what pictures painted at this period, which is about 1820, would look like if they hadn’t faded.
“The enamel has a marvellous way of retaining the intensity of the colours,” he pointed out.
The portrait, which was small in size, showed the late Queen wearing her all-black gown with a delicately painted white lace Victorian bertha collar.
The expert asked: “How did Henry Bone come into your life?”
READ MORE:Judi Dench refuses to answer probe over her appearance
She revealed: “I was given [the painting] 10 years ago, on the death of my father, and he was given it about 40 years ago by an elderly family friend, as my father used to do a lot of work for him in the garden or DIY.”
Philip replied: “It was a rather touching fee for looking after the garden.”
Later, the art lover explained: “The subject of Mary Queen of Scots is acknowledged.
“Now, of course, she died a number of centuries before but Henry Bone made a speciality in going around finding ancient Elizabethan portraits and then capturing them in this exquisite process.”
“First [he] painted them, [and then he] copied them.
The artist later worked for King George III, he explained: “Having royal patronage like that, the man had done extraordinarily well.
Philip wondered: “So, how do you respond to it?”
The owner of the painting gushed: “I just think it’s beautiful the lacework, it’s so delicate and I love it.”
Philip questioned: “How rarely do we see cheeks for the pink suffusing with the white so graphically is that?
“Because it’s faded in so many instances, but not of course in enamel.
“So, what you’ve got here is in art world terms is something very good.
“You’ve got an extremely beautiful image of a very important emotive sitter, Mary, Queen of Scots, a few 100 years later, by a very significant portrait painter and a naturalist Henry Bone, by appointment to the King.
When it came to estimation, while onlookers stood around, Philip shocked BBC viewers to the core.
He said: “It is, therefore, worth approximately 12,000 pounds.”
The guest, who looked rather lost for words, was left visibly stunned by the item’s valuation.
She reiterated: “Golly! 12,000 pounds?” the guest remarked: “Gosh.”
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.