The restoration revealed magnificent details underneath the varnish Credit: Philip Mould & Co
© Credit: Philip Mould & Co
The restoration revealed magnificent details underneath the varnish
An art dealer's incredible restoration of an oil painting covered in varnish for 200 years has left viewers mesmerised.

Philip Mould, who presents BBC art show Fake or Fortune?, shared footage with his Twitter followers showing the careful removal of a yellowish brown protective varnish from the painting.

"A remarkable Jacobean re-emergence after 200 years of yellowing varnish ... what a transformation!" he captioned the clip.

While art restoration can sometimes go spectacularly wrong, the presenter demonstrated delicate expertise to reveal the bright colours hidden underneath the protective finish.

Mr Mould tested a special mixture of gel and solvent on an 'oil on panel' surface before carefully applying it to the picture of the Jacobean lady.
The oil painting before its restoration  Credit: Philip Mould & Co
© Philip Mould & Co
The oil painting before its restoration.
"The painting was originally in a private collection in England," he told The Telegraph.

"We started restoration of the painting yesterday after extensive testing of the varnish on an oil surface on oak panel.
The painting was purchased from a private collection Credit: Philip Mould & Co
© Credit: Philip Mould & Co
The painting was purchased from a private collection
"A mixture of gel and solvent was created, specifically just to remove the varnish and not to damage the underlying paint.

"The use of gel has developed markedly in recent years. It's different from normal restoration, with the gel suspending the solvent and working in a more controllable way."

Removing the varnish revealed the woman's "astonishingly elaborate dress" and small clues about who she may have been.

"We don't know the identity yet but certain iconographic clues are staring to emerge," he added. "All we know is she is 36 and it was painted 1617."

Varnish can be applied to protect paintings from dust, dirt and damage, helping preserve them for many years.