A sleeper's long journey
July 9 2012
A picture that did well last week was a portrait at Christie's of Henry Jermyn, an important courtier before and after the Civil War. It was being offered as Studio of 'Van Dyck', with an estimate of £60,000-£80,000. The picture was quite substantially damaged, especially in the hair and areas of the face. But overall it was a nice picture, of an important sitter. I thought that the head was almost certainly by Van Dyck, with perhaps some studio assistance in the drapery. It seemed that there might be some later oil over-paint in the hair. It is probable that the painting is a second portrait by Van Dyck of Jermyn, for there seems to have once been a full-length.
The picture has been sold at auction three times in the last two years. It first surfaced at a regional auctioneer in England in 2010, making £16,000 hammer when called 'Studio (or Follower) of Van Dyck'. Then it was sold at the Dorotheum in Vienna as 'Van Dyck' in full, making EUR 76,230. And last week it made £163,250 (inc. premium).