Constable 'Copy' Confirmed as Real

New York City -- A painting by John Constable, which was misattributed and sold for a fraction of its actual value at Christie’s, was up for sale again at Sotheby’s New York.

Now it has been confirmed that the picture, bought in London for £3,500 just 18 months ago, was sold again at auction in New York for around $5 million.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are always looking for these astonishing art finds.

This oil painting was attributed as the work of a "follower" of the artist until it was expertly cleaned and inspected by Tate Britain’s Anne Lyles, who then gave it the seal of approval as an original "lost Constable".

She said the work was a preliminary sketch for Constable's "masterpiece", 'Salisbury Cathedral from The Meadows'.

In July 2013 an unidentified buyer acquired the 18 inches by 24 inches painting at Christie's in London for £3,500. The purchaser suspected the painting might have been doctored and that was confirmed by Lyles, a leading authority on Constable's work after some added brushstrokes were removed.

"This oil sketch is one of five preliminary oil sketches which Constable made for Salisbury Cathedral From The Meadows, which is perhaps the greatest of his late masterpieces," Lyles said.

Ms Lyles said the work was "hitherto completely unknown to scholars”. "It is one of the most exciting and important additions... to have emerged in recent decades," she added.

Lady Hambleden, 83, who consigned the Constable painting to Christie's, may now have a case for litigation, as specialists apparently failed to spot that the painting of Salisbury Cathedral was an original, instead listing it as being done by "a follower of Constable".

The artwork is believed to have been included in the private collection of William Henry Smith, the founder of the UK stationery chain. The entire collection, including this Constable work, was sold in the Christie's auction for 1.17 million pounds in 2013.

John Constable (11 June 1776 - 31 March 1837) was an English Romantic painter.

Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home -- now known as "Constable Country" -- which he invested with an intensity of affection. "I should paint my own places best", he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821. He stated, "painting is but another word for feeling."

His most famous paintings include Dedham Vale of 1802 and The Hay Wain of 1821.

Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful and did not become a member of the establishment until he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. He sold more paintings in France than in his native England.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video provides another example of a £30 auction-find is confirmed as a real work by John Constable.