Painting a fine effort but it’s no master ...

The portrait hanging in the Falkland shop
The portrait hanging in the Falkland shop

An old oil painting, which has lain in a Falkland shop for around 20 years, has sparked a flurry of interest after a visitor noticed its close resemblance to a master hanging in the National Gallery.

Bob Beveridge, who has run a violin and antique shop in the village since 1977, says the foreign visitor pointed out that the painting was almost identical to one by Sir Anthony van Dyck.

“The work in the National Gallery is a full length portrait of an Italian nobleman, painted by van Dyck in around 1660, and the one in my shop is a head and shoulders of the same nobleman,” said Bob.

“The uncanny coincidence is that both paintings are identical in every detail, and the work is very much a conversation piece with visitors.”

Bob , who has also been the Fife Herald’s Falkland correspondent for many years, is “not getting excited” about whether his painting is by the master.

“In Victorian times, the aristocracy would commission a very competent artist to copy the old masters for hanging in their country mansions.”

Bob has been around paintings all his life and he is not having it researched as he is confident that his is a Victorian copy.

“The man who pointed out the similarity in the two paintings seemed to be very knowledgeable about the works of van Dyck.

“I had no idea about the similarity of the two paintings.”

The portrait is one of the larger pieces featured in Bob’s shop.

Although it has attracted interest over the years, particularly from foreign visitors , it has not been bought because of the shipping costs involved.

“I get thousands of visitors in my shop, but most want something small they can take home in their suitcases.

”The painting, along with things like the model of a shop, just add charm.”

Van Dyck, a Flemish Baroque artist, became a leading court painter and was most famous for his portraits of Charles I.

He also painted biblical subjects.