Antiques Roadshow: Expert values Helen Mirren portrait
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Antiques Roadshow expert Lisa Lloyd was presented with a “semi-erotic” drawing of award-winning actress Helen Mirren on a recent instalment of the BBC show filmed in Hackney. The guest was keen to know how much the portrait was worth and was blown away when Lisa revealed it was worth four times the value she paid for it.
The drawing was of Helen tilting her head back with her blonde locks flowing as she appeared to be holding a sheet over her chest.
Lisa explained: “Now, it may not be immediately obvious but this is Helen Mirren aged 19 or 20.
“Of course, she went on to become one of our most prominent actors.”
The guest explained she acquired the sketch in Portobello Road, London, which was near her house.
“I go there every Friday morning and look through the boxes and this was down there,” she added.
“There’s a guy I see most weeks, sometimes he has some rubbish, sometimes not.”
She revealed she adored vintage artwork and described the sketch she brought onto the BBC programme as a “bit saucy” and “kitsch”.
Lisa quipped: “Well it is both of those things as it is saucy and kitsch.”
The expert proceeded to tell her guest the sketch was created by an artist called Nicholas Egon who was self-taught.
It was very faint, but in the corner of the picture was the artist’s name and the picture was dated 1965.
“He was Czechoslovakian and came to Britain at the age of 17 years old in 1938,” Lisa explained.
“He actually then became a war artist and after the war, he specialised in portraiture so he was quite a well-known portrait artist.”
The guest did some research of her own about the sketch and found a black and white photograph of Helen with the artist looking at the picture.
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She said it was interesting to see the “saucier side” of the actress, to which Lisa replied: “She is a little bit saucy, she’s got a bit of spark to her.”
“It’s only semi-erotic, you can’t quite [see anything],” Lisa added which the guest felt made the picture “sexier”.
The guest revealed she paid £100 for the artwork but told her husband it cost £50 to keep the peace at home.
Lisa told the guest the artist’s portraits typically achieve somewhere between £150 to £200 at auction for an unknown sitter.
“I think the fact that it’s Helen Mirren, we could probably double that to £300 or £400,” Lisa added as her guest smiled.
The guest gushed following the valuation: “Oh that’s great, well I love it.”
“It’s a great story and it’s a glimpse into her very earlier career, and a competent artist who perhaps had not had the recognition that he deserved,” Lisa noted.
Antiques Roadshow episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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