Bouchardon Bust: Sculpture of reputed founder of Invergordon bought for £5 and used as a doorstop could fetch £2.5 million

The sculpture was lost before being discovered propping open a garden shed in 1998

A sculpture of the reputed founder of Invergordon originally bought by a town council for £5 in 1931 could now be sold for up to £2.5 million.

The 'Bouchardon Bust' was discovered by local councillor Maxine Smith in 1998 in an industrial estate in the village of Balintore, Easter Ross.

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She said at the time she believed it may have been in the shed for several decades before she uncovered it.

The 'Bouchardon Bust' was discovered in 1998. Picture SWNSThe 'Bouchardon Bust' was discovered in 1998. Picture SWNS
The 'Bouchardon Bust' was discovered in 1998. Picture SWNS

It was later displayed at the Louvre in Paris - and valued at £1.4million. It is now thought it may fetch more than £2.5 million with Highland Council now set to rule on whether to sell it off.

The 1728 bust of MP Sir John Gordon was created by Edme Bouchardon - a French sculptor known for neoclassical statues in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.

Bouchardon created the artwork while Sir John was on his 'Grand Tour' of Europe - during which he studied for a time in Rome, Italy.

Members of Easter Ross area committee are now set decide the fate of the bust which is now owned by the local 'Invergordon Common Good fund', which will benefit from the sale should councillors give it the go ahead on Monday.

The first step will be a public consultation on the proposal to dispose of the bust, in line with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

This will also seek the views of the wider Invergordon community on the sale.

Council minutes from 1931 make reference to "the Provost, Cllr MacLeod and the Town Clerk were asked to visit Kindeace House Sale and endeavour to purchase the Bust of John Gordon said to be the founder of Invergordon and to offer up to £5 for same."

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Speaking in 2016, Ms Smith said: ''I started asking the council what happened to the old provost's robes and chains were and one of the Highland councillors suggested I try this shed.

"I managed to get the key from the council. I found the robes and there was this bust just propping the door open.

"I went back to the council and said that there's a bunch of stuff that looks like it's worth a lot of money and they need to get it out in case someone steals them.

"The insurance team got in and we found that it was worth so much money. Back then it was worth about £200,000."



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