Art and Culture

A seven-year-old boy revealed to the world a rare painting of the 17th century. The portrait of the King hung in his closet.

After Liz Vella’s son Dylan urged her tp have the oortrait restored by BBC1’s hit show The Repair Shop – it was discovered it was possibly one of the earliest period paintings of King Charles II.

A painting passed down through a family and cheekily dubbed “Charlie Boy” has turned out to be one of the earliest ever portraits of King Charles II.

Liz Vella inherited the art from her grandparents, and remembers it “watching over” her in their dining room as a child.

She said: “The adults used to joke that he was watching us so we had to behave. My sister was quite creeped out by him but I was fascinated.

“Nobody else wanted him so I said I would have him.”

As her son Dylan, seven, became interested in history, he urged her to apply to have the portrait restored by BBC1’s hit show The Repair Shop.

The painting was in need of some work (Image: Handout)

The programme’s art restorer Lucia Scalisi discovered it was possibly one of the earliest period paintings of the Merry Monarch, who reigned from 1660-1685 – and one of the oldest antiques to ever enter their workshop.

Liz, 32, of Tewkesbury, Glos, said: “We had no idea he was so old. My grandpa thought he was some sort of Victoriana reproduction, so we were totally shocked when we found out he was a period piece.

King Charles II

“We have no idea of his value, although I suppose we should get him appraised for insurance purposes.”

Lucia cleaned the painting, repaired the tears and delicately touched up the paint to bring the 350-year-old portrait back to its former glory.

Lucia aimed to resotre the King Charles II painting back to crowning glory (Image: Handout)

Liz said she and partner Tom Maggs would never sell the “museum-worthy piece” and would instead pass it down to history buff Dylan, who can name every monarch.

“He can name every monarch and he decided his favourite was Charles II because he was the Merrie Monarch who loved to party,” Liz explains.

“He thought he seemed quite cool. So I decided to get the painting out to show Dylan and he was blown away by it – but even he at the age of seven could see that he needed some TLC so that is when we decided to apply to the Repair Shop.”

When restorer Lucia got her hands on Charlie Boy he had several tears and his delicate features were covered in decades of dirt and varnish.

The painting looks great now and could be a museum piece but will be kept in the family (Image: Handout)

But before she got to work she did some research that revealed the painting to be much older and precious than Liz and her family could ever have imagined.

Dylan told her that Charles reigned from 1660-1685 – and Lucia is convinced the portrait was painted in the early part of his reign making it a piece of art of historical significance.

Lucia painstakingly cleaned the painting, repaired the tears and delicately touched up the paint to bring the almost 400-year-old portrait back to its former glory.

Liz, who was brought to tears when Lucia’s restoration of Charlie Boy was unveiled, says: “Lucia did such an amazing job. He was so dull before but now she has cleaned him up you can even see the rivets on his coat of armour and all the colours are so bright. We absolutely love him.” Source 1, Source 2, Source 3.

MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of WITNESS TO HISTORY, RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL (Paperback / Ebook), TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROESMEGACAUST,  DEATH OF A CITY MY LAST TESTAMENT LET GOD JUDGE ME,  THE ALL LIES INVASION (Paperback / Ebook), THE All LIES INVASION II (Paperback / Ebook)Odyssey Adolf Hitler, SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY, REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME II Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors,  and other book titles. These best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling THE LAST GLADIATORS Fiancés of Death (Paperback / Ebook); AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS: African Victims of the Liberal-Left (Paperback / Ebook); RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL European to Wall Street Colonialism (Paperback / Ebook); RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL (Paperback / Ebook), THE ALL LIES INVASION I, THE All LIES INVASION II,  and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

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