That'll fix the roof and more! Village church discovers paintings that have hung on the walls for 150 years are worth £1.5 million
Last updated at 6:25 PM on 5th June 2011
Paintings of Christ which have hung in a village church for over 150 years are set to make £1.5 million at auction after they were discovered to be the work of Italian artist Gerini.
The 14th century masterpieces which have ordained the walls of church St. Michael and All Angels in Withyham, East Sussex were revealed to be authentic Niccolo Di Pietro Gerini paintings after they were sent off for a routine clean.
The four paintings which depict the betrayal of Christ, the disciples washing Christ's feet, the mocking of Christ and the scourging of Christ, were created by famous artist Gerini, whose work hangs in the Vatican and in galleries in Milan and New York.
The Gerini pieces are set to be sold off later at auction to renovate the 13th century church.
Vicar Adrian Leak told the Sunday Express: 'We knew they were very nice paintings which everybody liked but we were amazed when we discovered just how precious they are.'
Sadly, the paintings, which were given to the church in 1849 by art collector Edward Ottley, have been replaced with reproductions as the church cannot afford to insure them.
Adrian Leak added: 'The value of the paintings mean they will never hang here again because we couldn't insure them to the value of £1million plus.'