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Unseen William Morris painting found on wall behind wardrobe in Bexleyheath
A PAINSTEAKING project has seen a “remarkable” hidden painting unveiled at the Red House in Bexleyheath, where artist William Morris once lived.
Painted on the wall of the bedroom shared by Morris and his wife Jane between 1860 and 1865, the painting had been hidden behind a fitted wardrobe and covered in wallpaper.
Until this year, only two indistinct figures were visible but following a two-month conservation project spear-headed by the National Trust, the work of art has been carefully revealed.
The six foot by eight foot artwork shows biblical figures including Adam and Eve with a serpent, Noah holding an ark as well as Rachel and Jacob.
Following the excavation work, experts believe the painting was created by Morris along with a number of other Pre-Raphaelite artists, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his wife Elizabeth Siddal, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.
Author and president of the William Morris Society Jan Marsh said: “The concept of the overall design was almost certainly by Morris.
“Our initial thoughts are that the figure of Jacob was by Morris, Rachel possibly by Elizabeth Siddal, Noah by Madox Brown.
“But who painted Adam and Eve? Maybe Rossetti or Burne-Jones?”
Experts are already working to try and distinguish who is responsible for the individual pieces of artwork by comparing them to other works of art.
Red House manager James Breslin said: “The early years at Red House were a flowering of ideas and creativity for Morris, who encouraged his friends to help him design a home uniquely medieval in feel.
“To uncover such a remarkable example of this early decoration has been so exciting.
“As we uncover more and more of those original schemes, we have been delighted that our visitors today have been able to share in these discoveries, and see the conservation in action, every step of the way.”
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