Antiques show is loved by collectors, curious... and crooks
It’s a comfy TV institution filled with gentle anecdotes and quirky family heirlooms.
But now a row over a pre-raphaelite painting has prompted a surprising warning about the Antiques Roadshow – it is watched by crooks.
The painting, which was stolen in 1988 after being featured on the popular TV programme, has now prompted one art expert to issue a warning about putting heirlooms on display.
The painting, Portrait of Mary Emma Jones, is now at the centre of a dispute as, after it was sold at Christies in July, it emerged that it had previously been stolen.
It was taken more than 30 years ago – just days after being valued at £20,000 on the BBC show.
Jan Davey, the daughter of the painting’s late owner, said the family had been convinced it was taken because “the week before it had been on the TV.”
Specialist art investigator Richard Ellis, the former head of the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques anti-crime squad, said: “If you appear on the show you need to make sure you have adequate protection because you’re running a flag up the mast to say, this is what I’ve got.
“When I was at the Yard it was always stated that the Antiques Roadshow was what the criminals watched on television, more to appreciate what things were and their values so that if they were in a house they would be able to recognise them.”
Portrait of Mary Emma Jones