In 2017, a portrait of King Charles I, normally on display in Winchester Guildhall’s King Charles Hall, was sent for cleaning and inspection, which it was hoped would reveal the identity of the artist. As it turned out, the inspection revealed a far bigger secret.

  • portrait of King Charles I
  • King Charles I
  • King Charles I portrait

The sceptre in Charles’ right hand was originally painted as a staff, the head was painted by a different hand to the rest of the painting and the ruff around his neck was thinning, with details of a different ruff showing through.

The real surprise came when the area beneath the feet was cleaned to reveal the inscription ‘Henry Jermain Earl of St Albans’. Although is not unusual for artists to re-use canvases, what is unusual in this case is that the identity of the former sitter was revealed.