Mar 042010
 

An artist's reconstruction of the serpent.

An artist's reconstruction of the serpent.

A strange image of a coiled serpent has appeared in the right hand of Queen Elizabeth I, over 400 years after an unknown artist painted the portrait.  Elizabeth was originally depicted grasping the snake, but the image was painted over to show the monarch holding a small bunch of roses.  The paint has deteriorated over the years, revealing the original image.

Furthermore, x-ray photography reveals that Elizabeth’s image was painted over an even older portrait of an unknown woman facing the opposite direction.  The eyes and nose of this first woman are partially visible on Elizabeth’s forehead where paint is flaking away.