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Rare 19th century painting of Rome’s Pantheon discovered in Norfolk family home

Market Day, The Pantheon, Rome, by Jean Victor Louis Faure (Dreweatts/PA)
Market Day, The Pantheon, Rome, by Jean Victor Louis Faure (Dreweatts/PA)

A painting by French artist Jean Victor Louis Faure is expected to fetch up to £50,000 at auction after it was discovered in a family home in Norfolk.

The artwork, titled Market Day, The Pantheon, Rome, was brought in 1965 by the owner’s father, Major H Mosse of Mendham Priory, Harleston in Norfolk.

It had hung unnoticed in the family home for 60 years and it was only discovered when the house was being packed up.

Major H. Mosse’s son said: “My earliest recollection of this picture, a view of the Pantheon in Rome, was the prominent position it occupied in the hallway of the family home for nearly 60 years, where it witnessed the comings and goings of family life, the many great friends who visited and even a wedding reception.

“For the most part it was just seen as an impressive picture occupying a large wall space with the occasional glance to acknowledge its existence.

“It wasn’t until the end, when the house was cleared and the only item left was the picture still hanging on the wall in its same prominent position, which stood out even more so now.

“This piqued my interest to find out a little bit more about the artist Jean Victor Louis Faure, as obviously, I had never thought of asking my parents during their lifetime anything about the picture, surprisingly, this has turned out to be an important-re-discovery of this impressive picture that I had grown up with”.

The oil-on-canvas painting, which is 1.21 metres by 1.72 metres in size, is expected to be highly sought after by collectors around the world as artwork from 19th century painter Faure rarely appears at auction.

Brandon Lindberg, Dreweatts Head of British & European Pictures, said: “Following on from our success last year with two monumental views of Rome by Frederick Lee Bridell (1831–1863), we are very pleased to offer another, even grander view of the Eternal City by the French painter Jean Victor Louis Faure.

“It is rare to find a work on this scale and age in such untouched and original condition.

“Faure’s work only occasionally comes on the market and the most comparable example to this, sold over a decade ago for in excess of £200,000, which is still the record price for the artist”.

The painting will go under the hammer at a sale of Old Master, British and European Art at Dreweatts on May 26.