From the quondam Cork Examiner of 18 June 2014Triptych artwork found in shed could fetch up to €120khttp://www.irishexaminer.com/media/images/t/TriptychWexford_large.jpg
By Brendan Furlong
A religious artwork discovered among junk in a presbytery outhouse is expected to fetch up to €120,000 at auction next month.
The triptych featuring scenes from the Crucifixion was found by Piercestown parish priest Fr John O’Reilly in a shed behind the parochial house which is situated just five miles south of Wexford town.
It has been identified as a rare 15th-century altar piece from the Flemish school of art in Belgium. Mystery surrounds how it ended up in Piercestown.
Fr O’Reilly said parishioners were amazed when they heard about the exciting find, but no one was able to offer any information about its origin.
Sheppards, the art auction specialists in Durrow, Co Laois, have estimated the piece to be worth between €80,000 and €120,000.
It will be auctioned at an international market on July 9. Fr O’Reilly said the proceeds will be used for the benefit of the parish.
They contacted the National Gallery and a Dutch University in The Hague, which confirmed the piece was an original from the Flemish School.
The priest told his parishioners about the find at Sunday Mass. Photographs of the triptych were put on display in the church.
Sheppards have suggested two possible theories on how it arrived in Wexford. One is that a wealthy local merchant may have brought it back from a trip to the continent, while the other is that it may have been taken for safe-keeping by monks or nuns fleeing Germany at the beginning of the Second World War.