Britain's Lost Masterpieces

Press/Media: Research


The programme focuses on a painting of the pentitent Mary Magdalen located in Brighton Museum, believed to be by the Roman Baroque master, Francesco Trevisani. I discuss two other paintings of the pentitent saint with presenter Emma Dabiri in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as part of the broader context.

Period1 Feb 2021

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleBritain's Lost Masterpieces
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletBBC4
    Media typeTelevision
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionBendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri visit Brighton Museum to investigate who painted two neglected pictures of religious subjects.

    Bendor believes a grubby image of Mary Magdalene representing her sins may be by a forgotten master of the Roman baroque, Francesco Trevisani. Emma visits the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to hear how a medieval pope confused the biblical accounts and gave Mary a completely invented personality.

    Bendor then travels to Rome to search for traces of Trevisani, while Emma investigates how Brighton’s lavishly decorated Royal Pavilion ended up an empty shell, ransacked and sold to the local council. The second picture is a sympathetic portrayal of Balthazar, a prince and one of the wise men from the Christmas story, which Bendor thinks may be by 16th-century Antwerp master Joos van Cleve. Examination reveals that it was once the left-hand door of a folding altarpiece. Bendor goes on to Edinburgh to see a similar altar, the finest work by van Cleve in Britain. Emma meets Rev Richard Coles to find out how, despite the lack of any description in the Bible, it became traditional to portray Balthazar as a black African.
    Producer/AuthorBendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri
    PersonsJoanne Anderson