Feilding and anr (appellants) v Simon C. Dickinson Limited (respondent)

Wednesday 21 June 2023

By appellant’s notice filed on 31 January 2023, the claimants/appellants seek permission to appeal the order of Deputy High Court Judge, Simon Gleeson, dated 11 January 2023, whereby he dismissed the claimants’ claim for damages for breach of contract and negligence arising out of the sale by the defendant art dealers of a painting by Chardin owned by the claimants and made consequential costs orders.

The case was about the proper sale price of the painting, “Le Bénédicité” (“the Painting”) by Chardin. The Painting raised a ‘red flag’ in that it is one of the few works referenced to be described as a “copie retouchée”. There is no consensus to the meaning of the phrase or an instance of this type of painting being previously sold. The defendant, acting as an agent for the claimants, sold the Painting for £1.15m. If it had been a mere copy, it would have been a fraction of that price. If it had been an entirely autograph original, it would have been worth many times that. After the sale for £1.15m, the Painting was re-sold to an established collector for $10.5m. The claimants allege that the defendant was negligent or otherwise in breach of their duty to their principals to sell it for the sum they did.

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