Last seen in Denver in 1914, an important Irish painting, John Mulvany’s The Battle of Aughrim, was found for sale on eBay.
Professor Niamh O’Sullivan, of the National College of Art and Design, has been looking for the painting for the last seven years.
“I was on eBay earlier this year looking for something by another artist,” Prof O’Sullivan told the Irish Times, “when this flashed up for a second and then disappeared again. I had difficulty in finding it again.”
The large oil was painted in Dublin in 1885 by Mulvany, a leading Gaelic revivalist. It depicts the 1691 battle between Williamite and Jacobite forces.
No one is sure how or to where the painting disappeared, but twice it was offered for sale on eBay for between $50,000-$100,000. Professiona estimates put it closer to $1 million in value.
Mulvany’s great grandniece traveled to San Francisco, where the dealer was located, to confirm the painting’s provenance. The dealer had presumed it was a US military scene.
The painting was bought in a private sale by the Gorry Gallery in Dublin. After a few repairs and a new frame, it will be put on public display in December.
After finally seeing the work, Prof O’Sullivan said, “I was holding my breath. But it is a major find and serious quality.”