Hereford Cathedral have been left highly delighted following the recent confirmation that one of their cherished artworks is actually painted by a great master.

The discovery was made by art historian Hugh Belsey, an authority on Thomas Gainsborough, during research for his upcoming book. The portrait of a member of the Donnithorne family was originally believed to have been painted by Gainsborough Dupont, Thomas Gainsborough’s nephew and sole apprentice, but Belsey confirmed, after an inspection, that the artwork is actually an original Thomas Gainsborough.

Currently hung in the Cathedral Vestry where it overlooks the Verger team as they go about their daily tasks, the painting has been a fixture of the cathedral’s collection since 1850 when it was donated to the then College of Vicar’s Choral. Previously it was hung in College Hall, within the cloisters.

The Very Revd Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford said, “Throughout our history we have always seen ourselves as a place where artistic treasures are valued. This painting, over the years, has been displayed in many places due to its impressive size and enjoyed by many. We are delighted to now receive the news that it is considered to be painted by Thomas Gainsborough having always believed that, due to the name plate, it was created by his nephew, Gainsborough Dupont.”

The cathedral is now discussing the best way of displaying the painting, which measures 7½ foot by 5 foot, so that it can be viewed by visitors. Its size makes finding a location, even in the cathedral, a challenge.

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