Country Life Today: The £5 million masterpiece that hung for years on the wall of an elderly lady’s kitchen

In today's news round-up there's an extraordinary auction find, worrying news for sheep farmers and a celebration of one of our great entertainers.

Long-lost Renaissance masterpiece discovered on wall above lady’s cooker

A painting that hung for years in the kitchen of an elderly lady’s home in France is expected to sell for around £5 million.

The painting, entitled ‘Christ Mocked’, is believed to have been painted by the by early Renaissance artist Cimabue. Eric Turquin, a Paris-based specialist in old masters, has authenticated the 13th century work ahead of its sale by auction house Acteon in Senlis, north of Paris, on October 27.

‘For years, the painting had hung close to a cooking plate in the kitchen of an elderly lady in Compiegne, north of Paris,’ report Reuters. Its value was only discovered when an auction house came to value her possessions.

‘Turquin said there was no doubt about the authenticity of the painting,’ continues the report, citing the fact that it is ‘in the style of the Italian master’ and that ;tunnels made by woodworms in the poplar wood panel match those of two similar Cimabues, a “Madonna Enthroned” in London’s National Gallery and “The Flagellation of Christ” in the Frick Collection in New York.’

Full story (Reuters)

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Sheepdogs are latest victim in spate of rural crime

Thieves are now targeting working dogs as livestock thefts escalate in the UK, warns insurers NFU Mutual.

Criminals are using the valuable animals to herd up increasing numbers of sheep, which they sell for meat on the black market.

The insurer has issued advice to those looking to help protect farms from such attacks.

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Whales return against the odds

Humpback whales return

A special bond: The whales remained in close contact with each other.

A pair of humpback whales first spotted off the coast of Kerry in 1999 have resurfaced to the delight of those monitoring the species.

‘To think that they could have stayed together for 20 years in treacherous waters with busy shipping lanes, sonar blasting, ghost drifting fishing nets and plastic pollution is nothing short of remarkable,’ said Eoin O’Mahony, who originally filmed the whales.

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On this day… Ronnie Barker born

On 25 September, 1929, Ronnie Barker — star of The Two Ronnies, Open All Hours and Porridge among many other things — was born in Bedford, England. 

Wet weather causes chaos (but some aren’t complaining)

Tuesday’s heavy rain caused flooding and travel disruption across England and the MET Office issued a yellow warning.

Disgruntled commuters took to social media with  reports of abandoned cars and cancelled services, while a rare few, including puppy Dudley, celebrated the change in climate.

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And Finally… The power of peas

Experts have asked if peas have the power to provide our future protein amid today’s environmental concerns.

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