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Strapped-for-Cash Scottish Aristocrats Find Long-Lost John Constable Work

Fortune smiled on a British couple when they discovered what is believed to be a work by John Constable. According to the Daily Mail, the couple learned that the famous English landscape painter was indeed the author all along of an overlooked painting in the guest wing of the castle their family has owned for 800 years.

When Simon Houison Craufurd and his wife, Adity, inherited Craufurdland Castle, a 600-acre estate 25 miles south of Glasgow, Scotland, they also inherited debilitating maintenance costs of up to $127,000 a year. Despite running an events and vacation rental business out of the 16th-century castle, the Craufurds thought they might have to sell their ancestral home. 

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A four-inch vase decorated with a rooster, flowers, and a bird in flight.

That is, until they appeared on Millionaire Hoarders, a British reality show that follows a group of antique experts as they rummage around ancient homes in search of overlooked, but potentially priceless, treasure. 

Their hopes may have been fulfilled when the Millionaire Hoarders crew found what they believe to be a genuine Constable painting, despite the work’s having been dismissed as a fake by an auction house a decade earlier.

“It’s funny because it’s a painting that I have seen I don’t know how many times and I have never actually paid any attention to it,” Simon Houison Craufurd told the Daily Mail.

Antiques specialist Ronnie Archer-Morgan, who spent six months researching the painting for Millionaire Hoarders, said he believed the painting to be a true Constable, and even found evidence, in Constable’s sketchbooks, that show the artist was in the region in the 1820s, when the painting is thought to have been made. The couple has since sent the work for forensic analysis in hopes that they’ve hit the jackpot. Should the work be authenticated, it could sell at auction for up to $2.5 million. 

Such a financial boon would allow the Craufurds to maintain the castle and the surrounding grounds, and ensure that the estate is passed on to their two children.

“The potential that the painting could bring to what we want to do with the estate going forward is not just life-changing just for us—it’s a legacy that will, I would hope, go on for generations and generations,” Craufurd said.


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