Fra Angelico’s Found in Spare Room

I’m always suspicious of masterpieces being found in garages or spare rooms. If I was an art forger I would use this technique as you get a lot of media attention and you’re not really saying it is by the artist, you’re saying you found it in the garage. The art experts will say it is or isn’t by the artist.

The two small works by Fra Angelico will be auctioned next year and are expected to sell for more than one million pounds.

Fra Angelico's FoundA 1 million pound art find behind the spare room door
“The paintings were discovered by Oxford librarian Jean Preston, who died this year, in a box of odds and ends in America in the 1960s. She did not know what they were but thought them “quite nice” and told her father, an amateur collector, about them. He paid a modest sum for them and passed them down to his daughter when he died. Miss Preston, an expert on medieval texts, lived the rest of her life austerely, traveling everywhere by bus or on foot, buying her clothes from a catalogue and eating frozen meals, not realizing she had a fortune behind the door of her spare room.” Guardian
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About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. You’re too cynical about spare rooms. In the UK the favourite is “I bought it in a car boot sale for 50p”! BBC TV’s Antiques Roadshow has queues of people who all bought something in a car boot sale for 50p. Ming vases, Faberge jewellery, old master paintings; they all end up in car boot sales for 50p. The highlights of the show are when one of the experts tells a punter “It’s from the Chang Dynesty and I’d insure it for £20,000,” and the punter looks gobsmacked and the audience all nudge each other and whisper, “The lucky bastard bought it in a car boot sale for 50p!”
    Best I’ve done so far is a working Atari ST computer plus software for £35 (a good few years ago). The mouse still works.

  2. Ha ha coxsoft, how right you are.
    What a story eh!!!!!

  3. Is there any word on exactly who the images depict? I understand that there are 8 predella images to the San Marco altarpiece, and that 6 are accounted for. For the life of me, I can’t figure out which 2 have gone missing all these years.

  4. 8 peices? Thats a random number. Why not tweleve? Hm… Something odd to think about, Brenda.

  5. The only Fra Angelico San Marco Altarpiece I can find was dedicated to the two medical saints, Cosmas and Damian, but the dimensions are wrong: the two new finds are far too small. Any help? Visit

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