Lost art masterpiece sells for over £250k after being found in UK bungalow

A 16th Century masterpiece, which was stumbled across in a routine house clearance at a London property, has sold for over £250k.

The painting of the Madonna and Child by Renaissance painter Filippino Lippi was found hanging, 'off kilter', above a bed during a valuation of an unoccupied bungalow in Enfield, north London.

Over 20 bidders battled it out during the subsequent online auction for the 50cm x 43.5cm oil on canvas landscape piece by the former student of famed artist Botticelli, with the hammer eventually coming down at £255,000 for a UK bidder.

The painting’s owner is a 90-year-old woman with dementia, who has been living in a care home since last year.

Her family were in the process of selling the bungalow and its contents to help pay the nursing home fees when the surprising discovery was made.

They have since learnt that the woman inherited the painting from her father more than 30 years ago.

Auctioneer Peter Mason said it became a two-horse race when the bidding reached £100,000.

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He added that they knew it would do well but the final hammer price exceeded expectations.

Siobhan Tyrell, Dawsons Auctioneers' head of valuations, who found the painting during her valuation, said she saw nothing exceptional in the property until she spotted 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,” she said.

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Aubrey Dawson MD at Dawsons said: “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 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 al the more enjoyable for everyone concerned.”

Filippino Lippi is believed to have been born in Italy in 1457, his work includes frescoes, altarpieces and paintings.

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