Kent

Canterbury painting 200 years older than first thought

The painting from the Beaney gallery
Image caption The painting belonging to the Beaney Institute in Canterbury depicts the baptism of Christ

A painting belonging to Canterbury's art gallery has been found to be more than 200 years older than previously thought.

The work by an unknown painter depicting the baptism of Christ was thought to date to the 19th Century.

But analysis by experts at the National Gallery in London revealed it was painted in the late 16th Century.

Ken Reedie, the curator of the city's Beaney Institute, said he was "astounded and delighted".

'Made to be revered'

He said: "Although the picture itself has not changed, the way that we perceive it certainly has.

"Until recently it was considered simply as a well-painted 19th Century fake, perhaps made to deceive a collector.

"Now it is still a copy, but it was a picture that was made to be revered in its time."

The painting is a copy of an altarpiece panel by the Italian Renaissance artist Pietro Perugino and was donated to the Beaney Institute by a benefactor in 1905.

The gallery is currently closed for a £6.5m refurbishment, but the painting will be returned for its reopening in 2012.

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