The postcard-sized watercolour of Sir Walter Scott and his family at his Scottish home came up for sale at a London auction house a few years ago.
The anonymous buyer paid a “two-figure” sum for the unsigned painting but suspected there was something special about the work and had it examined by leading art experts.
At least two have confidently declared it to be an original by JMW Turner, one of the most celebrated British artists of all time.
The watercolour is now on exhibition at Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s home in the Scottish Borders from 1812 to his death in 1832.
Turner, who lived and worked in London, was known to have visited Abbotsford in 1832 as a guest of Scott and the painting is believed to be one of his early watercolour works.