This postcard-sized watercolour of Sir Walter Scott and his family at his Scottish home came up for auction and the anonymous London buyer paid a around $125 for the unsigned painting.
But they suspected there was something special about it and had it examined by some leading art experts, two of which say it is an original by JMW Turner, one of the most celebrated British artists of all time.
It is is now on exhib at Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s home in the Scottish Borders where Turner was known to have visited a guest.
Kirsty Archer-Thompson, collection and interpretation manager, at Abbotsford is one of the experts who has confirmed the painting as a Turner,
“I’m willing to stick my neck on the line that it is a genuine Turner. We believe it to be one of his earlier watercolours.
I first saw the painting in March at the collector’s private residence. He bought the painting a few years ago but has been researching it because he wanted to find out more as he thought there was something special about it.
I knew it was a genuine Turner. I was completely moved when I held it in my hands. It is something to hold it in your hand rather than behind a glass, which is great about my job. This is probably the highlight of my career.
The private collector paid peanuts for it – a two-figure sum – only for a national gem to be discovered.“
Archer-Thompson is convinced it is a Turner because a pencil sketch can still be seen below the watercolours, a classic sign of the artist’s technique. The painting also differs slightly from the drawing underneath in classic Turner style.
“Turner was a master of these highly intricate and delicate watercolour illustrations, two of which are already owned by the Abbotsford Trust. Everything about this little painting feels authentic and consistent with the great man.”
When Turner stayed at Scott’s house in August 1831, the writer showed the renowned painter his art collection, amongst which is believed to be a view of Abbotsford and the River Tweed by Scottish artist Elizabeth Nasmyth.
“This painting is from exactly the same vantage point we believe Turner painted.
Scott had a personal attachment to the Nasmyth painting and its composition and my theory is that this gave Turner the idea to compose the same scene, which he based on sketches in the Abbotsford sketchbook used during his visit in 1831.”
Not very long ago another lost Turner watercolour appeared and was sold for £230,000.”
The tiny watercolour measures just 5.5 inches by 3.5
(via Express UK)