Couple settle after their 'Titian' was sold for a song

Dispute with Christie's after painting worth millions was bought for £8,000

When Salome was told by her father-in-law Herod Antipas that she could have anything she wanted she requested the head of St John the Baptist on a silver platter. His crime: daring to criticise her mother's marriage.

Similar feelings of retribution must have crossed the minds of a brother and sister after parting company with their painting of the seductively gory Biblical scene for just £8,000 only to see it resurface a few years later as a genuine Titian with a price tag of between £2.3m and £3.8m.

Yesterday the siblings reached an undisclosed settlement with the auction house Christie's just before the dispute was to be heard in the High Court in London, after the judge indicated that an "agreed compromise" had been struck between the warring parties.

The dispute settled on whether or not the 16th century oil, entitled "Salome With the Head of St John the Baptist", pictured above, in far from perfect condition, was actually from the hand of the world's most bankable artist or the product of his workshop of apprentices.

David Seton Pollok-Morris Dickson, from Symington, Ayrshire, and Susan Marjorie Glencorse Priestley, from Clapham, south-west London, claimed they had missed out on the true value of the work when it was sold by the auctioneers in 1994. They claimed London-based Christie's was guilty of a "breach of duty and/or negligence" alleging that had they been advised that restoration and cleaning work on the Old Master could have led to verification that it was an original, they would have commissioned art experts to do so.

It emerged in court papers that Mr Dickson was only alerted to the true provenance of the piece when he saw it in 2004 at the Age of Titian exhibition at the Scottish National Galleries.

In the decade after its sale the painting had found its way into the private collection of Luigi Koelliker in Milan where it was cleaned and eventually deemed to be an original having once formed part of Charles I's personal gallery and even featured the monarch's monogram on the back.

It was offered for sale by Sotheby's in New York in 2009 with the multi-million reserve although it failed to attract a bid. The picture was first "rediscovered" by Aidan Weston-Lewis, chief curator of the National Galleries of Scotland. But yesterday he said there was still room for doubt. He said: "We do not know for sure that the painting is by Titian. Many paintings from Titian's later career are essentially collaborations between Titian and members of his studio, with varying degrees of direct involvement on the part of the master himself. These are often difficult and subjective judgements.

"Freed from its disfiguring dirty varnish and overpaint, the painting appeared to us to include a substantial amount of Titian's own work, and this seemed to be corroborated by evidence of quite significant changes to the composition revealed by X-radiography – it being more likely that the master rather than an assistant would have been responsible for these changes."

Not faking it: Missed masterpieces

* A painting thought to be a fake for half a century turned out to be an early Van Gogh. Originally dismissed – along with a number of others – in the 1940s, Houses Near The Hague was discovered to be genuine and put on display in a small museum in Breda in the Netherlands in 2003. It bears the familiar Vincent signature. but its authenticity was questioned by the The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

The work, thought have been completed in 1882, was painted on canvas and later glued to a panel.

* When a copy of a Dutch Golden Age painting by the arch-counterfeiter Hans van Meegeren was given to the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1960, the gallery's director accepted it as a fake. But, around 50 years later, The Procuress was unmasked as a genuine 17th-century 'Dutch Golden period' piece, which may have hung in the house of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer.

* Last year a man walked into a Liverpool car wash and handed over a £10 note as payment. He turned on his heel and left with the mysterious phrase: "Keep the change – it's worth a lot more than ten pounds!" When the manager inspected it more closely, he saw that the note did not bear the Queen's head, but that of Princess Diana and was signed "Banksy of England". It is believed to be one of the famous "Banksy Tenners", pictured, and that the mysterious, generous customer was Banksy himself.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice