It's a story that seems made for, well, television. A British priest bought a painting from an antiques shop more than a decade ago for about $660, and took it to a filming of Antiques Roadshow—where it ended up being one of the greatest finds in the show's history. Father Jamie MacLeod said he bought the painting, in part, because he liked the frame. But in a lucky break, host Fiona Bruce saw the work after having "spent weeks looking at nothing but [Anthony] van Dyck paintings" in the course of making a show with an art expert on the Flemish artist, reports the Independent. And she thought this could be a "hidden masterpiece," too: a 17th-century van Dyck.
What followed was careful restoration work designed to slough off paint added in the 18th century, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. When completed, the portrait of a Magistrate of Brussels was verified as a van Dyck, one worth as much as 1,000 times what Father Jamie paid for it, and, at an estimated $660,000, the most valuable painting unearthed in the BBC program's 36 years. Father Jamie plans to sell the painting and purchase new church bells, which "hopefully will be pealing out to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in 2018." The painting wasn't the most valuable find ever for Antiques Roadshow, though; more on the US version's big find here.