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Down Your Way Bargain Repair-shop Hunt in the Attic Antiques Celebrity Auction Roadshow [Dorset].

Art experts say that there is no reasonable explanation for why the painting was mis-attributed. The depiction of the sun alone is, they say, "a dead giveaway" that this is a Thrupiece original.

Viewers of Dorset tv's evergreen Down Your Way Bargain Repair-shop Hunt in the Attic Antiques Celebrity Auction Roadshow [Dorset] were "suprised and delighted" yesterday when host Fiona Brutefors-Trowmä revealed that a painting - initially decribed by the programme's paintings and portraits expert Pâlette Nïyffe as "possibly School of Thrupiece... but not a particularly fine example" turned out to be an original by the man himself. Experts at Sotherbone's Fine Auctioneers confirmed that forensic tests together with a thorough examination of the painting's provenance proved "beyond peradventure" that the artwork - brought onto the show by former Threadbone Tower's cleaning staff member Ivor Moppe - was a genuine Thrupiece probably dating for the late 1970s.

Were it not for the detective skills of staff at Threadbone Digi-photo Analytics, this marvellous example of middle period Thrupiece wouldalso have been dismissed as the work of a primative amateur.

Red-faced programme executives were rapidly backpeddling yesterday at the latest revelation whilst a tight-lipped spokesperson for Mr Nïyffe said only that "everyone can make a mistake now and again and looks as though Pâlette might have dropped an on-air clanger". This is by no means the first time that a genuine Thrupiece has been mistaken for a work by a lesser imitative artist. Two years ago, "Couple dancing before astonished nuns" was accepted as the work of the master only after x-ray photographs revealed an earlier self-portrait hidden beneath the canvas. As a result, "a canvass which might have struggled to raise a fiver at Bothenhampton's Tuesday market instead went under the hammer and sold for £1,2 million".

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of Dorset Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave, Major Heist [Head of the RDC's Art-related Crime Unit] said that a man in his 60s, believed to be a former Threadbone Tower's cleaning staff member, was helping police with enquiries. It is also believed that several objects were removed from his home. Mr Ivor Moppe [63] who cannot be named for legal reasons is a regular at the Jack the Lad Public House, Iwerne Courtney, where he regularly supplies patrons with mobile phones, tablets, silverware, jewellery and, occasionally, televisions, stereos, Christmas turkeys and larger items of white goods.

Side by side comparison of the original "Couple dancing before astonished nuns" and the x-ray image which reveled the painter's true identity. [Photo courtesy Threadbone Digi-Photo Analytics]

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