Art News

Masterpiece by Rubens discovered in historic Glasgow house

Masterpiece by Rubens found hanging in historic Glasgow house.

A masterpiece painted by Rubens missing for 400 years has been discovered in Pollock House situated on the south side of Glasgow city.
The portrait of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, as some historians believe was a lover of the Scottish king James VI, though this has been a subject of much debate.

The ‘art detective’ Dr Bendor Grosvenor uncovered the painting which up until now was thought to be a mere copy of the Rubens masterpiece by another artist.

Following laborious conservation work, the Rubens characteristic techniques which were hidden beneath layers of overpainting and centuries of dirt had obscured the painting. Scientific analysis of the wood it was painted on dated it to the 1620’s and it was found to have been prepared in a way done in Rubens studio. Additional cleaning and x-rays of the hair revealed it was not a copy but was the original by the artist himself.

The painting has undergone conservation and restoration work by Simon Gillespie to return it to its original appearance.

The restored painting has been authenticated by Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp.

It is considered a rare addition to Rubens’s body of work as a portrait artist who is renowned as one of the most important artists globally in history.

The portrait of the Duke of Buckingham in a doublet lace collar and sash dates from 1625. He was a controversial figure in the Jacobean era who rose from minor nobility to become one of the favoured in the court of James 1, who was James IV in Scotland. He was assassinated in 1628 at the age of just 35, three years after the death of James 1.

It is believed the portrait of the Duke of Buckingham was bought by Sir William Stirling Maxwell, an avid art collector, who owned Pollock House in the late 19th century.
The painting will go on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

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