Antiques Roadshow guest ‘declines’ huge valuation of rare Irish painting

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Antiques Roadshow has been releasing unseen clips from their archive collection, and in one segment from the Best of the Summer, Grant Ford was lucky enough to value a rare Irish painting. But with no signature on the piece, how much did it collect? 

“An amazing Irish painting,” Grant said. “It must be by Thomas Alfred Jones, the President of the Royal Hibernian Academy. 

“It’s got a very distinctive style to it, but of course, it’s unsigned.” 

Taking a closer look at the design, the expert commented: “These two really beautiful colleen girls. Can you tell me the history of this picture?” 

“All I know is my great-great-uncle bought it in 1883 at the Cork Exhibition,” the lady explained. 

“And it’s been in my family ever since, and I’ve had it for the last 35 years.” 

“It’s such an extraordinary thing!” Those watching at home saw Grant remark. 

“It’s very, very difficult to find great narrative Irish art, and you’ve brought me a real cracker. 

“What do you love about this painting?” He asked. 

“Well, I love it because I feel it’s very Irish, and I’m Irish. And I just think it’s very fresh and it’s very hopeful,” the guest replied. 

“But here, he represents them in a very sentimental way,” Grant said pointing at the position of the subjects. 

“You almost feel that Jones has exaggerated the subject. 

“Here they are, bathing their feet. Certainly the girl who has got her feet in the water, has very muddy legs. 

“But meanwhile, the colours of their dresses, they almost feel like colours of clothes that have just been bought. 

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“They’re so fresh and beautiful and red. And the two colleens, these girls have such pretty, exquisite fans, don’t they?”

“Absolutely, really pretty,” the lady agreed. 

As for the artist, Grant revealed: “Jones is a very, very important Irish artist. 

“He was born in 1823, and he became president of the Royal Hibernian Academy in about 1869. 

“It’s in lovely condition. It’s not signed, but it’s totally autographed just by looking at the way it’s painted. It’s absolutely him 100 percent,” Grant reassured. 

“It’s extraordinary to find this in Salisbury, but it’s extraordinary to think that actually, this very rare painting by Jones has been looked after. 

“You’ve been the custodians, your family, for the entire time since it was created. 

“That’s such a wonderful story in itself. And, I suppose now we come to value,” he continued. 

“The Irish art market has been up and down, but the real rarities still command great prices. 

“For a Victoria painting like this by him, well, I’ve only seen a few in my career. 

“My career’s been quite a few decades now. It’s certainly worth £10,000 to £15,000,” Grant said, 

“Wow, that’s amazing, and it will stay in my family,” the lady replied. 

“Well, I’m very glad to hear that, it’s very much a museum quality painting and a real Irish treasure,” the expert concluded. 

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer now. 

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