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Case study

A lost Artemisia Gentileschi painting rediscovered

See how curators and conservators pieced together the story

A conservator works on Susanna and the Elders
A conservator works on Susanna and the Elders (RCIN 402702) ©

A painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, the greatest female artist of her generation, has been rediscovered in the Royal Collection after being misattributed at least two centuries ago.

The rediscovery resulted from work by Royal Collection Trust curators to trace the paintings sold off and scattered across Europe after Charles I’s execution in 1649. Seven paintings by Artemisia were recorded in Charles I’s inventories but only her Self-Portrait was previously thought to survive today.

The rediscovered painting, Susanna and the Elders, forms a significant addition to Artemisia’s extant body of work and sheds fresh light on her creative process and her time in London in the late 1630s, working alongside her father at the court of Charles I and Henrietta Maria.

Watch the film to find out how the work was rediscovered, and find out more about the extensive conservation work the painting has undergone.

The painting is on display at Windsor Castle until 29 April 2024.

Watch the film to find out more ©

Object featured in this case study

Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1593-Naples 1652)
Susanna and the Elders c.1638-40
  • Queen's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle
RCIN 402702

This depiction of 'Susanna and the Elders' was recently identified as the painting by Artemisia Gentileschi which was recorded in the Queen’s Withdrawing Chamber at Whitehall Palace during the reign of Charles I c.1639. Two major inventories of Charles I’s collections were compiled; the first by Abraham van der Doort, the King’s...