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Pensioner Turned Down Free Painting That Was £13m Van Gogh Masterpiece

Pensioner Turned Down Free Painting That Was £13m Van Gogh Masterpiece

A pensioner has revealed how she once turned down a Van Gogh original painting that's now worth £13m, and instead chose to take a brass handbell.

Whoa, that's one hell of a trade-off.

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76-year-old Gaye Horrell said that she was offered the painting, which is called 'Peasant Woman in Front of a Farmhouse', for nothing at all back in 1967, but turned it down because she'd been convinced it wasn't worth anything.

Well, it's thought to have sold at the European Fine Art Fair in Holland last week for £13m

Whilst the actual price hasn't been revealed, everyone in the know reckoned it'd go for between £12m and £13m.

Horrell admitted that she'd been "very naïve" not to take the painting when it was on offer for free.

Gaye Horrell said she'd been 'naive'. Credit: Facebook
Gaye Horrell said she'd been 'naive'. Credit: Facebook
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Yeah, that's about right.

So, the painting came across her radar back in the day when Gaye asked by her in-laws at the time, Charles and Molly Holme, if she wanted anything from their Staffordshire cottage before they held a sale.

Now, they'd been given the Van Gogh painting, showing a woman in a blue dress in front of a countryside house, in 1929 as a method of payment for farm supplies, but convinced Gaye that the painting was "not worth having".

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So, she chose a brass handbell, which is barely worth anything.

The painting was then sold for £4 to an auction house, then to a junk shop, where it was bought in North London by Luigi Grasso for £45.

Grasso noticed that the painting bore the faint signature 'Vincent', and it was then verified by the Van Gogh Museum in The Netherlands.

Over the years, as it has changed hands, it has grown in value. From £100,000 in 1970, then £1.5m in 2001, it's now thought to have switched most recently for £13m to an unknown buyer.

It's an acquired taste.
It's an acquired taste.

Gaye told Shropshire Star about the time she was offered the masterpiece for nothing. She explained: "In 1967 I was living in Stafford, married to Tim Holme, elder son of Charles Holme.

"My in-laws Charles and Molly Holme had the sale of household bits and pieces alongside the farm sale and I was told to choose something for myself beforehand.

"I saw the [Van Gogh] picture and immediately liked it. The painting looked old, very dirty and uncared for, and it had a hole in it, but I still liked it.

"They persuaded me it was not worth having and not to bother with it."

She added: "As I was advised not to bother I have seen various articles about its life after the sale, but there was not a lot I could do.

"Oh dear, how very naive of me. Of course, in those days I couldn't argue with them and ended up with a brass handbell. I learnt my lesson the hard way."

Topics: uk news, Weird

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a LADbible journalist and Twin Peaks enthusiast. Despite having a career in football cut short by a chronic lack of talent, he managed to obtain degrees from both the University of London and Salford. According to his French teacher, at the weekends he mostly likes to play football and go to the park with his brother. Contact Tom on [email protected]