Discovered masterpiece 'worth �750k'

A PAINTING bought for �67,000 has been revealed as a lost masterpiece by Suffolk artist Thomas Gainsborough and may actually be worth �750,000, it has emerged.

Dave Gooderham

A PAINTING bought for �67,000 has been revealed as a lost masterpiece by Suffolk artist Thomas Gainsborough and may actually be worth �750,000, it has emerged.

The amazing discovery was made by London art dealer and Antiques Roadshow presenter, Philip Mould.

The picture, entitled View of Ipswich, is believed to have been painted by Gainsborough when he was in his late teens and depicts a landscape of the town.

It also features Christchurch Mansion which is now an art gallery and actually showcases many works by Gainsborough.

Mr Mould originally bought the picture for �67,250 but is now offering it to the Gainsborough's House museum in Sudbury for �750,000 - which he says is a price that reflects its importance and rarity.

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Mr Mould said: “I very much hope that this painting can end up in the museum of his home town. It has been the most thrilling experience piecing together its forgotten history and a further reminder of how great a British artist Gainsborough was at a young age.”

The picture is believed to have been painted in the late 1740s, when Gainsborough would have been in his late teens or early 20s.

It is painted from Christchurch Park, looking south towards the River Orwell. The back of Christchurch Mansion can be seen to the left.

Mr Mould said he felt the painting's “atmospheric portrayal” of Ipswich shows a side of Gainsborough's youthful talent that experts had not until now appreciated.

The landscape first surfaced at an auction in London in December where it was described as a work by an unknown artist.

Mr Mould spotted the picture in an online auction catalogue and set about researching its origins. He established that the picture had sold at an auction in London in 1824 and had belonged to renowned collector George Nassau whose father had been painted by Gainsborough in Ipswich in the 1750s. It is thought that the Nassau family might have acquired the painting then.

The painting will be on public display at Mr Mould's London gallery from Saturday as part of an exhibition of paintings by the young Gainsborough.

No one was available from Gainsborough House to comment on the new discovery yesterday.