The Queen finds a Caravaggio in her storeroom (UK)

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She has one of the world's greatest art collections, an unrivalled set of hundreds of Leonardo drawings, almost 30 Canalettos and paintings by most of western art's greatest figures including Tintoretto, Vermeer, Holbein and Dürer.

Yesterday the Queen acquired her first Caravaggio, worth £50 million or more if she could ever sell it.

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, owned by the Royal Family for almost 400 years, has lain unloved and seldom seen in a storeroom at Hampton Court for decades. Misattributed as a copy of a Caravaggio by an unknown hand, it was valued in thousands rather than millions.

The Royal Collection, whose experts have cleaned, restored and studied the picture for six years, declared yesterday that it is authentic and one of only around 50 surviving canvases by the Italian master. "I am convinced it is by Caravaggio," Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, said. "We are extremely excited, it's the most important discovery in the collection in the last decade."

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