In search of the good oil on possible materpieces
expert Philip Mould finds sleepers – paintings that hide dark secrets. His most remarkable finds are pictures whose true authorship has been confused, masterpieces lost beneath years of dirt and over-painting. Mould is used to investigating other people’s paintings, but this time the tables turn as his own purchase is put under the microscope. With his keen-eyed researcher Bendor Grosvenor, Mould bought a painting that he says could be the find of a lifetime; an important lost work by portrait painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyke and worth a small fortune. The only problem is in order to prove it he’ll have to remove later layers of paint to uncover the truth. ‘‘It’s a bit like open heart surgery,’’ says Mould as the expensive and irreversible process begins. A thorough restoration is needed and inches of canvas cut away as an earlier image begins to appear. Mould’s co-presenter Fiona Bruce isn’t convinced and insists the work undergoes a thorough investigation and needs to be authenticated by an independent Van Dyke expert. Will Mould’s reputation and the painting make it to the end of the journey unscathed?