ARTS & CULTURE
05/29/2013 04:06 pm ET Updated May 30, 2013

Rubens Drawing Found In University of Reading Cupboard (PHOTOS)

"A Rubens in the cupboard! It is not what you expect to find," University of Reading professor Anna Gruetzner Robins told The Guardian's Mark Brown.

Indeed one does not expect to find a 17th century drawing by master Peter Paul Rubens in a space often reserved for tchotchkes. Then again, these dramatic art finds happen more often than you might think.

rubens found

Photograph: Design And Print Studio

The drawing, only 10.8cm x 8.9cm, depicts a profile view of the queen of France, Marie de' Medici, possibly made in preparation for a larger painting in 1622. Phys.org reports that the drawing was first bought by collector Henry Wellesly, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Wellington, who bought artworks for the Ashmolean Museum.

rubens found

Photograph: Design And Print Studio

In the 1950s the drawing was purchased for teaching purposes by a Readings Fine Arts professor, reports the Guardian. The piece was bought as a so-called Rubens, but its measly price tag convinced the professor it was only a copy. However a recent conservation revealed new evidence to the contrary in the form of a hidden collector's stamp belonging to Jonathan Richardson, a famed early collector of Rubens drawings.

The piece is now said to be worth over $110,000 and will join four other Rubens drawings depicting Marie, which currently hang in the Louvre. Just another friendly reminder to check your cupboard, or attic, or behind your office door for hidden masterpieces.

See more dramatic art finds in the slideshow below and let your envy flow freely in the comments section.

PHOTO GALLERIES
The Most Dramatic Art Finds Of 2012

Subscribe to the Culture Shift email.
Get your weekly dose of books, film and culture.

CONVERSATIONS