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Unfinished sketch of Mary Queen of Scots found hidden under 16th-century portrait

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 27, 2017, 12:16 pm IST
Updated Oct 27, 2017, 12:16 pm IST
An image of a woman was discovered by an x-ray of a portrait by Dutch artist Adrian Vanson.
Unfinished sketch of Mary Queen of Scots found hidden under 16th-century portrait. (Photo: Pexels)
 Unfinished sketch of Mary Queen of Scots found hidden under 16th-century portrait. (Photo: Pexels)

Researchers make fascinating discovery of an unfinished sketch of Mary, Queen of Scots reportedly hidden beneath a 16th-century painting.

Experts believe the picture of the woman bears "compelling similarities" to the queen. An x-ray of a portrait of Sir John Maitland, the Lord Chancellor of Scotland between 1586 and 1595 led to the find.

 

Conservator Dr Caroline Rae, part of the research team by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London was examining the 1589 painting by Dutch portrait artist Adrian Vanson along with his other works.

"Using technical art history, it is possible to illuminate artists' materials and techniques for the first time in centuries, to discern copies and forgeries and to explore questions of authorship and workshop practice," Dr Rae told the Daily Mail.

The sketch was probably abandoned or covered, researchers speculate due to her execution in 1587.

 

"Vanson's portrait of Sir John Maitland is an important picture in the National Trust collection, and the remarkable discovery of the unfinished portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots adds an exciting hidden dimension to it," David Taylor, curator of pictures and sculpture at the National Trust told the Daily Mail. Adding, "It shows that portraits of the queen were being copied and presumably displayed in Scotland around the time of her execution, a highly contentious and potentially dangerous thing to be seen doing."

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