British man finds ancient painting while renovating kitchen

This work of art is older than even the United States.

Unlike most apartment makeovers, Dr. Luke Budworth unveils not mold and decay – but fragments of a 400-year-old drawing.

The 29-year-old Leeds University medical researcher was refreshing the kitchen of her UK flat last year when contractors noticed a mysterious structural condition under her cupboards.

“When they found it I knew there was a parallel piece of wood on the other side of the chimney, which could have been the same thing,” Budworth told SWNS of the humbling moment in which a work of national importance was uncovered in his home.

Budworth had previously noticed the unsightly part of the wall, but “I never thought about it before, I thought they were pipes behind it” he said.

His unit in Micklegate, York had been “a million different things over the years”, so the fact that part of the wall was not complete was not even noteworthy.

As soon as the contractors pointed it out, however, Budworth was fascinated by the corner.

antique kitchen painting york uk
A government group believes the works are of national importance.
Luke Budworth / SWNS

antique kitchen painting york uk
Luke Budworth with a painting in his flat.
Courtesy of Luke Budworth / SWNS

The book from which the paintings are.
The book from which the paintings are.
Luke Budworth / SWNS

antique kitchen painting york uk
Close up of one of the panels.
Luke Budworth / SWNS

“I got really excited, grabbed my tools and started smashing it,” he elaborated. “At first I thought it was old Victorian wallpaper, but soon I could see that it was actually drawn on the wall of the building next door – so it’s even older than this building.”

Since that intense moment of restoration-generated discovery, Budworth has uncovered many other bits of ancient frieze, which previously spent time unknown under the ceiling on either side of its chimneypiece.

Experts believe the paintings date to 1660 and depict scenes from poet Francis Quarles’ 1635 book “Emblems”.

Heritage organization Historic England believes the work could be of great importance.

“We think they are of national importance and in the context of York, where domestic wall paintings are quite rare, they are of particular interest,” said the group’s senior architectural investigator for the region, according to SWNS.

Budworth hopes that his story will inspire others to “start looking suspiciously at their own walls”.

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