In the first area of England to be named after an artist, an Ansdell painter gallery owner is rocking the art world with a painting thought to be worth more than £1m.
Having already turned down two offers of £100,000 for the painting of Windermere, Michael Bentley has now removed the work from his gallery on the advice of art experts and insurers, and is sending it to the Saatchi Gallery in London.
He said: “I paint in my own style but it is like that of Turner, and the reaction to the painting has been astonishing.
“I was in Windermere on the day a picture was taken of some sort of creature in the lake, and there was huge coverage of it.
“I did my painting a few days after that.
“I’ve had professionals and art collectors look at it, and I’ve been offered £100,000 for it, but I didn’t want to let it go.
“But now I’ve been told to insure it for £1m so it’s had to be moved out of the gallery and I can’t keep it in my house.
“It is going down to the Saatchi gallery in London.”
The man who attempted to buy the painting for £100,000, a Fylde coast art fan, has confirmed his bid, but wishes to remain nameless.
Michael, 50, opened his gallery after moving from Ambleside where he had a gallery for three years.
But it’s a far cry from his previous life as a Para in the army.
He said: “It was a big change when I left the regiment. But I’ve been a professional painter now for 14 years. I can only paint in my style, but people seem to react to my work.
“I can’t believe what’s happened with my Windermere painting and it will be interesting to see what happens next.”
Michael’s Gallery is in Woodlands Road, and features paintings of the Lake District and locally.
His works range from £1,000 to around £25,000.