Search for art lover who paid £3,000 on eBay for Edouard Vuillard painting worth £250,000

Fiona Bruce said the owner has 'bagged themselves the bargain of the century'

A mystery art lover is said to be sitting on a fortune, after it was revealed an Edouard Vuillard painting bought on eBay for £3,000 is worth around £250,000.

The search for the owner of the post-impressionist artwork is underway after it was revealed on BBC antiques show Fake Or Fortune that the painting is worth over eighty times the money it was originally bought for.

Experts on the show made the discovery when they valued a painting owned by writer Keith Tutt, who had bought the painting for a heavily reduced price at an auction.

The painting, which depicts a man and woman eating oysters together, was previously owned by art dealer Robert Warren, who revealed it was one of a pair and said he had sold the other canvas but could not remember who to.

Fiona Bruce, who co-hosts the show, said: “You can't miss this painting, it's very large at four feet high and an unusual oval shape. Whoever bought it off eBay has bagged themselves the bargain of the century.

"We've done all the forensic and investigative work to prove it's genuine, now we just need to find the owner and tell them the good news. Someone, somewhere in the world is sitting on a fortune."

Another of Vuillard's paintings, called “Les Couturieres”, sold for more than £5 million in a Christie's auction in 2009 and experts value the newly-discovered works at around £250,000 each.

Bruce was behind another discovery last month, when she had a “hunch” that an Anthony van Dyck painting was a genuine masterpiece on Antiques Roadshow.

The painting, which was bought for £400 by a priest in Nottingham, was said to be worth around £400,000.

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