A picture by John Constable valued up to £2 million has been discovered in an 800-year-old castle.
The painting, presumed to be by Constable, was discovered in the guest wing of the castle from the 13th century.
The painting, thought to be by English landscape artist John Constable, was discovered in the castle’s guest wing at Craufurland Country Estate near Kilmarnock.
The estate is managed by laird Simon Houison Craufurd and his wife Adity, who left their city occupations to take over the family house.
The couple enlisted the assistance of antique experts Ronnie and Clive from Channel 4’s Millionaire Hoarders to help them assess goods and raise funds for repairs.
During their search, they came across the painting, which is estimated to be worth between £1 million and £2 million.
Simon told STV News, “During a 1960s evaluation, we were informed that it was not a genuine Constable.
“Ronnie asked, ‘Are you sure it’s not the genuine article?'” I responded, ‘I don’t believe so.’ So we are investigating it further.
“It’s similar to saying, ‘You have three-quarters of the lottery numbers, so you may or may not win. We’re still unsure.
“We must establish it scientifically through paint analysis, which is beyond my comprehension. I’m not an expert, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
Ronnie, after receiving a preliminary assessment of the Constable, stated to the couple, “You [Simon and Adity] said it had been examined and deemed unreal.
“Caroline and I presented an image to a Constable specialist and expert; 98% of the Constables she sees are denied, while 2% are taken into consideration. We belong to the 2%. Although it is not conclusive, the evidence is compelling.
“If it turns out to be a Constable, the auctioneer would estimate its value between £800,000 and £1,000,000,” There is a significant if, but I have great faith in this.
“The next phase of the journey will require a great deal of confidence and a small amount of funds, and it could take anywhere from six months to a year.”
Six months of research led to the identification of JP Heseltine as the original proprietor of the painting.
The collector owned master drawings by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Durer dating back 600 years.
After discovering 1918 letters, they determined that Simon’s great-great-grandfather had purchased the piece from the collector.
“He was a very successful businessman; he manufactured shoes in Northamptonshire,” said Simon. He enjoyed adorning his large family home with fine furnishings.
“It’s intriguing to learn more about what my ancestors did and where they went, as well as to meet people today who share that interest.
“The professionals have been exceedingly pleasant to work with. There will be countless hours of uncut footage of things we’ve been told about our residence. Everyone is so knowledgeable.
The castle also yielded an authentic epitaph by Scottish poet Robert Burns, a painting by William Marlow, and a hotel guestbook signed by Charles Dickens.