Angels uncovered in 350-year-old painting

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Secret details, including hidden angels, have been revealed in a 350-year-old British painting following a painstaking investigation by gallery staff.

Little was known about A Portrait of a Lady and a Boy with Pan by John Hayls, the Baroque painter, when it was aquired by the Tate in 1995.

But a stencilled lot number on the canvas was found to refer to a Christie's sale in 1929, when the artwork - dated 1655-9 - had been described as"Portrait of Mrs Dobson, of West Peckham, Kent, and her son, Thomas Dobson, in a landscape with Satyr and Cupids".

Yet there was nothing cherub-like visible on the canvas. The mystery was resolved when an infrared photograph was taken, which revealed two Cupids holding a wreath, together with a rose being thrown into the lady's lap and a theorbo - a long necked lute - at the right of the painting.

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