On 12 December 2021, the curators of the National Art Gallery and conservation expert Jennifer Myers made a curious discovery.
Behind what was thought to be the portrait frame of Ananda Samarakoon, who famously composed the national anthem, was a mystery painting, hidden for over 90 years.
The curators believe that the ‘Lady In Red’, painted by Mudaliyar A C G S Amarasekara in 1928, could be an unidentified social elite of the ’20s — a wife of a politician, a daughter of an ambassador, or perhaps another artist.
She wears a wedding band on her right hand, prominently displayed in the portrait.
But discovering her true identity is proving to be a nearly impossible task.