Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Blitzed Paul Delaroche artwork returning after 70 years

Charles I Insulted by Paul Delaroche
Paul Delaroche's painting was damaged in the World War II bombing raid

A painting by Delaroche is going back on display after being damaged in a World war II air raid and hidden away for decades.

Charles I Insulted was evacuated to Scotland in 1941 after its London home was bombed.

The 1836 artwork was unrolled for the first time in the summer, revealing many tears and traces of plaster dust.

The painting, which has yet to be fully restored, will be shown in London's National Gallery from 24 February.

Doomed monarch

Restorers found some 200 tears on the canvas and fragments of plaster from the bomb blast, which hit the London home of its owners, the Ellesmere family.

Charles I Insulted being unfurled
The artwork was carefully unfurled earlier this year

Despite the damage, the painting had lost none of its intensity after spending decades tucked away in a Scottish country house.

Efforts to lessen damage to the painting were taken immediately after the air raid, with paper laid on top of the bigger tears.

The picture shows King Charles I shortly before his execution in 1649, being bullied and taunted by Oliver Cromwell's troops.

Paul Delaroche depicts the doomed monarch as a Christ-like figure, taking the blows with fortitude.

The artwork will remain on public display in the gallery until 23 May, along with other of the French artist's masterpieces including The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, which was painted in 1833.



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