BBC art expert reveals rare painting worth thousands of pounds was destroyed by his cat

a cat that is looking at the camera: Dr Bendor Grosvenor's cat, Padme, is responsible for the hole you see in this picture © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Dr Bendor Grosvenor’s cat, Padme, is responsible for the hole you see in this picture A BBC arts experts has revealed how his cat wrecked a rare masterpiece painted by one of his favourite artists.

Dr Bendor Grosvenor, who appeared in five seasons of Fake or Fortune, paid more than £5,000 for a painting by 17th century portrait artist John Michael Wright, which was clawed by his pet Padme.

He was busy restoring the artwork after two small tears had formed because a cold winter followed by a hot summer had caused a stretcher displaying the painting to move.

The 41-year-old covered the front of the painting with facing paper and brushed on a warm gelatin-and-water solution to preserve it before it could be sent to London to be relined.

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However, Dr Grosvenor was left dismayed when his cat launched itself at the painting before raking its claws down the middle of the portrait to leave a large gaping hole.

While the painting was not completely destroyed, the repair costs are estimated to almost equal the entire purchase fee and Dr Grosvenor admitted the artwork will never return to its pristine condition.

He told The Sunday Telegraph: “I bought it in 2015 for £5,250. I probably spent the same again cleaning and reframing it. 

a man sitting on a table: Dr Bendor Grosvenor featured in five seasons of BBC's Fake or Fortune © Stuart Nicol Photography Dr Bendor Grosvenor featured in five seasons of BBC’s Fake or Fortune “And as I stood back to admire my handiwork, up jumped our cat, landing forcefully in the centre of the painting with a crunch. Disaster.”

“Wright is one of my favourite artists, and I bought this example because it was in excellent condition, with all the original glazes and details wonderfully intact.

“Now, it’s obviously in less good condition – but at least the cat landed on his clothing, and not his face.”

He added Padme is “not a fan of John Michael Wright, and regrets nothing.”

Dr Grosvenor has found many lost works of art in his career, including a 2017 discovery of  the “lost portrait” of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham at Pollok House, Glasgow, Scotland.

It was thought to have been lost for more than 400 years.

In 2009, he bested the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s experts, finding their portrait of Charles Edward Stuart by Maurice Quentin de La Tour was in fact a portrait of Charles’ brother, Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal York.

According to Tate, John Michael Wright was rated as “one of the leading indigenous British painters of his generation” for his Baroque style portraits.

Having trained as an artist in Scotland under the tutelage of George Jamesone, he moved to England permanently in 1656 where he painted Stuart kings Charles II and James II.