Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Rare Eardley hidden behind sketch

The two Eardley artworks (Pics courtesy Iain Clark on behalf of artworks' owner)
An art lover bought the sketch, Boy with the Big Boots, and found the valuable Eardley painting of a boy hidden behind it

A Scots art buyer who paid 22,500 for a drawing by artist Joan Eardley has found a painting hidden inside the frame worth about four times as much.

The art lover sent the drawing, Boy with Big Boots, to be cleaned and when the frame was removed it revealed an oil painting depicting a young boy.

It is thought to show one of Eardley's favourite models, Andrew Samson.

The new owner, who does not want to be identified, intends to keep both the 1950s works for his private collection.

Art consultant Iain Clark, who runs Artbank - which helps wealthy art lovers build up their collections, took the sketch to Brian McLaughlin, of the Painting & Restoration Studio.

Mr McLaughlin said as he took it out of the frame he noticed there was a signed painting on the back.

"It was astonishing, I was really surprised," Mr McLaughlin said.

I don't know who was the original recipient of the drawing, but I think [Eardley's] expected them to get it reframed at some point and to have come across it as a gift
Iain Clark
Art consultant

"The two of us just looked at each other open-mouthed for a good three or four seconds.

"Then the excitement hits you and you're then - wow, we've just found this and it's been here for 50-odd years and we're the first two people to see it."

Mr Clark said, although Eardley was renowned for discarding unwanted work, it was a mystery why it was there at all.

"Had it been a bad painting, or had it not been signed, or had it been cut down from something, I would have thought she'd just used it as backing board," he said.

"I don't know who was the original recipient of the drawing, but I think she's expected them to get it reframed at some point and to have come across it as a gift."

He added: "Who knows - it's very difficult to tell."

The value of Eardley artwork increased recently following the first major exhibition of her work in almost 20 years, which was held at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh last year.

The artist was born in England and moved to Glasgow when she was 19.

She became famous for her oil paintings of children who played in the streets - usually depicted against a chalk graffiti-ed working class backdrop .

In her later years, Eardley moved to Catterline, just south of Aberdeen, where she painted landscapes.

She died from breast cancer in 1963 at the age of 42.

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