Van Dyck portrait fails to sell

A painting revealed to be a genuine Van Dyck portrait during an episode of the Antiques Roadshow has failed to sell at auction.

A member of Christie's staff looking at a portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, which failed to sell at auction.
A member of Christie's staff looking at a portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, which failed to sell at auction.

Head Study of a Man in a Ruff, which cost its owner just £400, had been given an estimate of £300,000 to £500,000 for last night's sale at Christie's in London.

But the auction house confirmed it had failed to sell in the Old Master and British Paintings auction.

The work was bought 12 years ago by Father Jamie MacLeod from an antiques shop in Cheshire and was identified after the show's host, Fiona Bruce, saw it and thought it might be genuine.

Ms Bruce, who was making a show about the artist with expert Philip Mould, asked him to look at it and after a lengthy restoration process the painting was verified by Dr Christopher Brown who is one of the world's authorities on Van Dyck.

It was shown in an episode of Antiques Roadshow broadcast in December.

Father MacLeod, an Old Catholic priest who runs a retreat in the Peak District, planned to spend the money on new church bells for Whaley Hall Ecumenical Retreat House in Derbyshire to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World in 2018.

The painting is believed to be a sketch for a work called the Magistrates Of Brussels which hung in the city's Town Hall until it was destroyed by a French attack in 1695.