It's perhaps the dream of any art lover, antique collector or messy attic owner: As you explore the dusty corners of your home, you stumble upon a priceless piece of artwork worth millions of dollars. Turns out, it seems to happen often.
Most recently, art historian Bendor Grosvenor, who is also a presenter for the BBC's "" series, was examining an art collection at the in Aberdeenshire with a team of experts when they discovered a dusty painting that is likely a lost work by famed Renaissance artist , according to the .
"Finding a possible Raphael is about as exciting as it gets," Grosvenor said in a statement. "This is a beautiful picture that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible."
To the untrained eye, however, it wouldn't seem so valuable at first. The painting, which is a Madonna composition, was found obscured by a yellow varnish and covered in dirt in the stately home, reports . The painting dates to between 1505 and 1510, but it was thought to be a copy by another artist — Innocenzo Francucci da Imola — in 1899, when it sold for just $25. That's equivalent to about $2,550 in today's market.
If determined to be a Raphael, however, it could be worth (cue the drum roll) $26 million.
"Being an anorak, I go round houses like this with binoculars and torches," Grosvenor told The Guardian. "If I hadn't done that, I'd probably have walked past it."
After Grosvenor found the artwork, it underwent a professional cleaning and conservation process by Edinburgh-based conservator Owen Davison. It is now undergoing a detailed investigation.
The Haddo House was designed by Scottish architect William Adam in 1732, and has an entire collection of paintings (including those by Sir Thomas Lawrence and James Giles), ceramics and art, and period furniture on display for guided tours.
If its most recently discovered painting is determined to be a Raphael, it will also showcase Scotland's only publicly owned Raphael.
Now go forth and scour your attic for lost paintings — we know you're itching to.