Madonna painting to go to auction in Mirfield

The Church of the Community of the Resurrection.
The Church of the Community of the Resurrection.

A painting attributed to the Italian master Luca Giordano will be auctioned off by a community of Mirfield monks.

The Community of the Resurrection, based on Stocks Bank Road, are putting the 17th century work, which depicts a Madonna and Child with St Elizabeth and an infant St John the Baptist, up for sale in order to raise funds.

The painting, which is up for auction later this year.

The painting, which is up for auction later this year.

The painting has hung in the group's home for 80 years and will go up alongside hundreds of other lots.

Some experts have described it as ‘of the school of’, or ‘from the circle of’, but one expert believes the hand of the master can be discerned in this work, saying: "If you could paint like this, why would you be content to copy someone else’s work?"

In a frame, the painting measures 4ft 6ins by 3ft, and was the property of Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs, successively Bishop of Southwark, Worcester and Coventry. It was given to the Community by his daughter, Margaret Yeatman-Biggs, in 1936.

Fr John Gribben, a member of the Community for nearly 40 years, has organised four previous fundraising auctions, and hopes this one will be his swansong. His brother George, a well-known Belfast auctioneer, will perform the auction.

Fr John says: ‘This is a bit of a challenge. Our supporters have been very generous and we have been given several lots which are likely to sell for between £500 and £1,000 each. This painting, even if it isn’t by the master, stands in a league of its own.

"We have been greatly tempted to send it to a professional auctioneer and I have agonised over this. In the end I felt I owed it to George and all our volunteers to put it into our own auction.

"This is a very beautiful painting and I have a great love of it. So we will not sell it lightly. If the bids are not high enough we will be very happy to keep it at home."

The auction is set to take place on June 23.