Mystery masterpieces at Preston Manor

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BBC4 Lost Masterpieces presenters Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri

Preston Manor has reopened with two mysterious paintings which were recently the stars of BBC Four’s programme Britain’s Lost Masterpieces.

The paintings have been in the Fine Art Collection of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery stored for many years with incorrect information.

The Lost Masterpieces team which tracks down lost and hidden paintings from local museums and galleries visited to investigate the artworks and to solve the mystery of their true origins.

The programme presented by art historian Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri selected the two paintings in the RPMT archive.

One painting known as Mary Magdalene was recorded as by an unknown artist of the Italian School. The second called Balthazar was thought to be by Flemish artist Bernaert van Orley.

The team used scientific sleuthing techniques, x rays and infrared lighting and then sifted through many museum records to find out more. The team eventually discovered that they had been painted by completely different artists: Francesco Trevisani painted Mary Magdalene and Joos Van Cleve painted Balthazar. The programme is available on BBC iPlayer until the end of 2021.

The works of art will be on display together for the first time at Preston Manor from Friday 28 May 2021. Art lovers can find out just how the team solved the mystery of the paintings’ provenance and see the incredible methods used to authenticate them beyond doubt as two of the world’s great Lost Masterpieces.

CEO of the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust Hedley Swain said: “It was wonderful to watch the history of these paintings unveiled on the show Lost Masterpieces. We’re really happy to celebrate the reopening of Preston Manor with the display of these amazing works of art as an added extra.”

Preston Manor is reopening on Friday 28 May 2021 after months of closure following the third lockdown.

This charming historic house is decorated and furnished in Edwardian style. Its elegant reception rooms and functional servants’ quarters reveal the ‘upstairs and downstairs’ of life at the manor. Families can enjoy the fun children’s trail and explore the grounds around the house.

Tickets are on sale now, initially for the period 28 May to 31 July 2021.

Advance booking

We have introduced timed ticket entry and reduced capacity to ensure the safe distancing of visitors inside the manor. We recommend you pre-book your ticket at least 24 hours in advance of your visit.

Your ticket for a Year

Our standard admission tickets include free return visits for a year from the date of issue, at no extra cost (excluding promotional offers and group tickets).

Preston Manor Annual Pass
This pass is ideal for those making a visit to just one of our museums.

Adult £8.10
Child* (5-18) £4.80
Family tickets
2 adults with up to 2 children £21.00
1 adult with up to 2 children £12.90

Multi Attraction Annual Pass
If you live in Brighton & Hove or are a regular visitor, this pass will provide you with unlimited access to our museums for a year.

Entry to the Royal PavilionBrighton Museum and Preston Manor:
Adult £27.00
Child £17.00
Family (2 Adults, 2 children) £71.00
Family (I Adult, 2 Children) £44.00

Preston Manor

Preston Manor, part of Pavilion and Museums Trust is a charming historic house, decorated and furnished in Edwardian style. Its elegant reception rooms and functional servants’ quarters reveal the ‘upstairs and downstairs’ of life at the manor before the First World War.

Preston Drove, Brighton BN1 6SD Tel 03000 290900


Contact information for press and media

For further information, images or interviews please contact Caroline Sutton on or 07802 542 867.

For urgent enquiries in my absence please contact or 03000 290906.