They thought this painting was a fake — turns out it might be worth $26M

Photo Credit: BBC/Tern

This might have you give that old painting stored in your attic another look!

A painting previously believed to be a worthless copy of a work by the Renaissance painter Raphael is now believed to be an original worth over $26 million.

According to the Guardian, art historian Bendor Grosvenor discovered the painting when he was visiting Haddo House, a home in Scotland owned by the National Trust, to examine some other paintings to feature in an upcoming BBC series. He spotted the painting by chance tucked away high above a door.

“I thought, crikey, it looks like a Raphael … It was very dirty under old varnish, which goes yellow … Being an anorak, I go round houses like this with binoculars and torches. If I hadn’t done that, I’d probably have walked past it.” Grosvenor told the Guardian.

After a bit of research, he found that the painting had originally been bought as a Raphael in 1841 and exhibited at the British Institution in London, but was later downgraded to a work by the lesser-known artist Innocenzo Francucci da Imola.

Grosvenor, however, isn’t buying it. “It is simply too good to be by Innocenzo.” Burn.

The painting has been restored and the next step is for Raphael experts to take a look at it and judge its worth for themselves. In the meantime, those curious to learn more about the painting and its provenance can watch the BBC4’s new series “Britain’s Lost Masterpieces,” airing October 5th. [Guardian]