Lost Renaissance painting found in Enfield home sells for £255,000

‘Significant’ Renaissance painting by art student of Boticelli sells for more than £250,000 after it is found hanging above a bed in a bungalow in Enfield

  • The canvas, worth £255,000, was painted by Filippino Lippi in the 15th century
  • A routine valuation of a bungalow in Enfield led to the masterpiece being found
  • Its owner is a 90-year-old woman who inherited the painting from her father
  • The painting is a depiction of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus

A Renaissance painting by an Italian master found hanging above a bed in a bungalow in Enfield has been sold for more than £250,000.

The depiction of the Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi, a student of Boticelli, was painted in the 15th century.

It was discovered during a routine valuation of the contents of a house by Dawsons Auctioneers valuer Siobhan Tyrell, who has appeared on the Antiques Roadshow.

The painting’s owner, who inherited the masterwork from her father more than 30 years ago, is a 90-year-old woman with dementia who has been living in a care home since last year.

Her family were selling her bungalow in Enfield, north London, to help pay for her care when the surprising discovery was made.

A 15th century depiction of the Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi, a student of Boticelli, found hanging above a bed in a bungalow in Enfield has been sold for more than £250,000

They had no idea about the painting, its history or its value.

The oil on canvas painting, which measures 50cm x 43.5cm, fetched £255,000 when it went under the hammer at auction.

More than 20 people from all around the world put in bids but it was eventually sold to a British buyer.

Auctioneer Peter Mason said: ‘We had over 20 active bidders on the day but it became a two-horse race when we reached £100,000.

‘We knew it would do well but the final hammer price exceeded our expectations.’

Mrs Tyrell, head of valuations at the auctioneers said: ‘There was nothing exceptional in the house until I walked into the bedroom and saw 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.’

Aubrey Dawson, managing director 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 secretly 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 all the more enjoyable for everyone concerned.’

Filippino Lippi is believed to have been born in Italy in 1457 and was a pupil of Botticelli.

His canon of work includes frescoes and altarpieces alongside paintings.

While his work is often eclipsed by that of his father, Fra Filippo Lippi, and younger artists Raphael and Michelangelo, it is still regarded as an important influence on High Renaissance artists.

Dawsons Auctioneers specialise in fine art, jewellery and antiques.

Filippino Lippi: Painter who influenced Italy’s High Renaissance arists

Filippino Lippi was an Italian painter who worked in Florence during the late 15th and early 16th centuries, until his death in 1504. 

Although he was successful during his life, his brilliance has now largely been forgotten. 

According to the National Gallery, this could partly be due to the enormous fame of Raphael and Michelangelo, two painters who were part of the generation of Italian painters that fallowed Lippi’s. 

Lippi is seen as a link between the achievements of the 15th and 16th centuries, with his work having influenced High Renaissance artists. 

The painter honed his skills whilst a student of the far more famous Sandro Botticelli.

Lippi’s painting that was sold at auction is another depiction by the painter of the Madonna and Child. 

The other version, painted in 1485, is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

A Madonna is a depiction of the Virgin Mary. She is often shown with her child Jesus, as in Lippi’s paintings.  

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