A portrait by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) of his friend and engraver Leopold Löwenstam, was revealed on last night’s (September 25) Antiques Roadshow broadcast.
It was brought in for valuation by Löwenstam’s great-great grandson. London dealer Rupert Maas, the Roadshow’s art appraiser, described the portrait as “one of the best pictures we have ever seen on the Roadshow in its entire history”.
Alma-Tadema, an Anglo-Dutch artist best known for his depictions of classical antiquity, holds the record for a Victorian painting at $36m (£28m) for a picture sold in New York, Maas said. He valued the Löwenstam portrait at a more modest £200,000-300,000 due to its smaller in size and atypical subject matter not being an example from Alma-Tadema’s classical oeuvre.
Value of etchings
Good engravers were vital to the prosperity of Victorian artists, Maas told Roadshow viewers, with etchings of Alma-Tadema’s paintings fetching as much as three guineas each.
Depicting the engraver as he created a copper plate of an Alma-Tadema painting, the picture dates from 1883 and was given as a gift to Löwenstam and his wife on their wedding day that year.
The portrait was first displayed in the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 1884 and again in Liverpool in 1913, but has been unseen in public since then. It will now form part of a touring exhibition of Alma-Tadema’s work starting in the Netherlands and on show at London’s Leighton House Museum in autumn 2017.
Until now the record for an Antiques Roadshow painting valuation has been held by Sir William Orpen for a copy the war artist did of his original portrait of a young French woman during WWI, which in 2010 Maas valued at £250,000.
The Antiques Roadshow, first broadcast in 1979, averages some five million viewers per episode and in the past year has outperformed ITV’s X Factor and the relaunched Top Gear on the BBC in TV ratings.