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‘Devil-like figure’ uncovered in 230-year-old painting after restoration

23:30, Monday, 13 November, 2023
‘Devil-like figure’ uncovered in 230-year-old painting after restoration

A “devil-like figure” featured in a painting by a renowned artist that’s more than 230 years old has been rediscovered after a recent restoration. The discovery came as a result of conservation work done by the National Trust on a painting of a Shakespearean scene by 18th Century artist Joshua Reynolds, who died in 1792. Referred to by the Trust as a “fiend,” an evil spirit or demon, the painted figure proved to be controversial at the time. The figure, covered by layers of paint and varnish, was included in Reynolds’ painting based on a Shakespearean death scene, which was titled “The Death of Cardinal Beaufort.” Specifically, the painting shows a scene from Shakespeare’s “Henry VI, Part 2” with the king witnessing the death of Cardinal Beaufort.

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