Boyne painting may be worth big bucks

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A PAINTING found in the cellar of Brownlow House could be worth a considerable amount of money.

It’s understood the oil painting is a copy of a painting by American artist Benjamin West and may the work of a Dutch artist.

It depicts King William crossing the Boyne and could date back to the late 1700s. West’s original was painted 90 years after the famous battle.

Sam McCleary, Vice Chair of Friends of Brownlow House, said: “A lot of old stuff had been put into storage at the time of the fire.

“This particular painting was found in the cellar during the restoration of Brownlow House. We’ve been told it’s worth a considerable amount.

“It will be on display in Brownlow House for a while, but then it will be taken to the bank for safekeeping.”

The painting was discovered by Ruth Bothwell, a painting conservator and decorative artist, who was working on the restoration and refurbishment of Brownlow House.

Ruth, who is based in Belfast and London, said: “I did a lot of decorative and restoration work in Brownlow House. One day in the cellars I saw the painting and asked if I could take it to London to be restored.

“We put a totally new canvas at the back of it. The painting was falling apart.

“It had literally been through the wars. It had two bullet holes and three knife slashes.

“It had been restored three times before using putty to fill in the holes.

“It was a big challenge to restore it, but a lot of fun. We’re very pleased with the outcome.”

She said: “It is an exact copy of a famous Benjamin West painting. I would say it has been done by a Dutch painter.”

Benjamin West was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence. In 1763, West moved to England, where he was commissioned by King George III to create portraits of the Royal Family.

The restoration of the copy of his famous painting took place over two and a half years at London School of Picture Conservation.