Masterpieces found in deceased curator’s home

Martin Hodgson reports in The Guardian that a former curator’s house in Oxford held an unknown collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and books worth millions. “Two Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces found in the kitchen and above the electric fireplace of an unassuming terrace house in Oxford have been uncovered and are to be put on public display. When retired curator Jean Preston died in 2006, experts called in to value her estate discovered a treasure trove of paintings and valuable books worth millions of pounds. Two paintings by the Renaissance master Fra Angelico were identified as ‘lost’ panels from a Florentine altarpiece, and subsequently sold at auction for almost �2m…. Preston, who died in 2006, was a curator of manuscripts at the Huntington library in California, and at Princeton University Library. An expert on medieval texts, she lived an unassuming life, travelling everywhere by bus or on foot, buying her clothes from a catalogue and eating frozen meals, not realising she had a fortune hanging on the walls of her home.” Read more.

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