The Countess is suing an art dealer after the £1million family painting was resold for millions more

Simon Dickinson, former senior director of Christie’s and director of Simon C Dickinson Limited, helped arrange the sale of the painting in July 2014 to Verner Amell, a Scandinavian art dealer with a gallery in Stockholm, Sweden, for 1, £15 million, the court was told.

The work, purchased in 1751 by the ancestor of Count Francis Charteris, had received a “light cleaning” and was sold under the name “Chardin et studio”.

The court heard how Mr Dickinson thought there was limited scope to sell it after an expert said it was not entirely from the renowned French artist.

Six months later, the painting was purchased by a family trust from the late Michel David-Weill, the “extremely wealthy” art collector.

The court was told the resale came after the painting had been deep-cleaned, an alleged ‘Chardin’ signature was discovered and an expert hailed it as a ‘fully autographed masterpiece by Chardin himself” – i.e. entirely painted by the artist.

David-Weill paid $10.5m (£9.5m) in January 2015, including $7.5m (£6.7m) in cash and the transfer of a painting another French artist, Jean-Antoine Watteau, who is believed to be valued at $3m (£2.4m), according to the sales invoice.

Lady Wemyss and March, who sued with fellow trustee Vilma Ramsay, argued that the trust was entitled to the difference between the July 2014 price and what would have been obtained if the painting had been sold “like a Chardin at its actual market value. ”.

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