TV & Movies

Antiques Roadshow guest floored as he learns truth behind Shakespeare painting picked up for just £5

AN ANTIQUES Roadshow guest was floored as he learned the truth behind a Shakespeare painting picked up for just £5.

In a classic episode of the BBC show, expert Phillip Mould met a man who had a portrait of author Charlotte Bronte.

Phillip started by saying: "We have a saying in the art world that in the back of the picture, it will often tell you more than the front.

"But you found something beneath the picture, did you not? Now, it all started with you buying at a house clearance this print of Charlotte Bronte.”

The guest replied: "Yes, I basically bought it for the frame because I like the frame. I thought the frame was very old."

Phillip said: "And so you took the picture of Charlotte Bronte, which is sort of a pretty modern print. You took that out of the frame which you liked the look of. May I have a look?”

The guest agreed and Phillip lifted the portrait of Charlotte out of the frame to reveal a painting of William Shakespeare.

Phillip gasped: "My goodness me."

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He then asked the guest what he had thought when he first saw the hidden portrait, and he said: "I thought it was quite an old picture."

Phillip then explained: "[It's] hidden behind Charlotte Bronte, how extraordinary. An 18th-century pastel, probably about 1730, 1740 based on the portrait.

“It’s a little bit rubbed, it is a little bit damaged, but you have a drawing, a pastel of a very emotive and historical subject.

“Pastels were becoming really popular in England in the 20s and 30s.”


He continued: "You can tell this is an early pastel because of the paper, you can see the lines running through.

“Pastel, like chalk has the tendency to crumble and deteriorate. And you can see this is an early 1730s portrait of William Shakespeare.”

Moving on to the value, he said: “It is probably worth between £700 to £800.”

The guest was stunned, saying "wow", before revealing he had bought it for £5.

Antiques Roadshow is available on BBC iPlayer.

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