Once doubted by experts, a wonderful portrait of Rembrandt Van Rijn has been scientifically verified as genuine, bringing excellent news to the National Trust.
The work is now the first Rembrandt housed in the trust's 13,500-strong collection, after scientists uncovered evidence of the artist's deft hand.
Doubt was first cast upon the authenticity of the piece in 1968, after specialist Horst Gerson and the Rembrandt Research Project thought it was not accomplished enough.
"Careful cleaning and removal of several layers of aged and yellowed varnish which had been added to the painting much later, revealed the original colours and painting style beneath, said Christine Slottvedd Kimbriel of the Hamilton Kerr Institute.
"What was revealed was a true depth of colour, much more detail and a three-dimensional appearance to the fabric in Rembrandt's cloak which had previously been obscured and detracted from the quality of the work in the eyes of the Rembrandt Research Project."
With the restoration paid for by the People's Postcode Lottery, the National Trust will never sell the painting, as it keeps its collection for public benefit.
The Rembrandt, valued at around £30m, has returned home to Buckland Abbey in Devon and will be put on display shortly.
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