The Antiques Roadshow show will be broadcast on the UK BBC tonight. One of the people featured, Father Jamie MacLeod who runs a retreat house in north Derbyshire, took the artwork to Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, in 2012. He wanted to sell the piece by the 17th Century Flemish artist to buy new church bells. At the time, the presenter thought it might be more valuable than first thought.
The paintings featured are all well-known, not the new discovery.
The portrait, originally bought at a Cheshire antiques shop, is the most valuable painting identified in the show's 36-year history.
Van Dyck was the leading court painter in England under King Charles I and is regarded as one of the masters of 17th Century art.
My husband told me a story of finding and selling paintings when he was a boy of about 10 years in London just after the end of WW2. His father used to buy old pianos and refurbish them before selling them on. While he worked, he sent his two sons out to search for good pianos. I can't remember how it happened, but somehow they got hold of five large oil paintings. They might have been included in a lot. With the cumbersome paintings under their arms, the brothers traipsed into various second-hand shops and finally sold them on their father's instructions. To this day, my husband wonders about their real value.