By Maev Kennedy
Likeness of executed queen painted over most likely as too dangerous to have on show to be exhibited in Scotland
A ghostly image of Mary, Queen of Scots has been found under a portrait of a Tudor aristocrat that has been hanging on the wall of a historic house in outer London. Her portrait may have been considered dangerous, left unfinished and then overpainted by the nervous artist, in the political turmoil after she was executed in 1587.
Her blurry image, recovered through an x-ray, will be on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery together with the portrait of Sir John Maitland, a courtier who became lord chancellor of Scotland, which has hidden it for almost 450 years. The resurrection of the image of Mary was described as “a fascinating discovery” by Christopher Baker, the director of the gallery.