Category: Conservation

Katherine Parr Cleaned

May 23 2024

Image of Katherine Parr Cleaned

Picture: Left - Sotheby's / Right - @NPGLondon via 'X'

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Portrait Gallery in London have shared a photo on 'X' showing the recently restored portrait of Katherine Parr (right), the last wife of King Henry VIII. The painting, attributed to Master John, had been sold from the collection of the Earls of Jersey at Sotheby's in 2023 (left) and is now in a private collection. The conservation of this portrait has been very successful by the looks of it. Those bold blocks of colour in the background, set against Katherine's face and intricate dress, gives the portrait a remarkably modern feel I think.

It appears that the painting will be included in the NPG's upcoming Six Wives exhibition which opens in June.

Cornelis van der Geest's Quentin Metsys Discovered

May 23 2024

Image of Cornelis van der Geest's Quentin Metsys Discovered

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's London have released news that the prime version of Quentin Metsys' Madonna of the Cherries has been discovered. The work had actually appeared as 'Studio of' back in 2015 (pictured left), however, the recent cleaning of the picture has shown it to be a painting of high quality. Furthermore, it appears that this picture is the same that was once owned by Cornelis van der Geest and appears in a famous painting of his gallery by Willem van Haecht.

The painting will be offered in the upcoming Christie's London Old Masters Part I sale carrying an estimate of £8m - £12m.

Kauffmann and Restored Reynolds on Display at Saltram House

May 21 2024

Image of Kauffmann and Restored Reynolds on Display at Saltram House


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Saltram House in Devon, a property run by The National Trust, have been lent Angelica Kauffmann's portrait of its previous owner Theresa Parker from a private collection. The painting is on display alongside the property's recently restored full-length portrait of Theresa by Sir Joshua Reynolds. According to the article linked above:

Kauffman’s portrait of Theresa Parker was commissioned by Parker herself as a gift for her friend Lady Pelham. The portrait is on loan from a private collection and is being shown in public for the first time in this country.  

The small full-length depiction of Theresa is intimate in scale and shows her in fashionable Turkish dress. The portrait representing Theresa’s love for her friend contrasts the portrait by Reynolds, which was commissioned for public display at the Royal Academy in 1773, and as a companion for another large historical family portrait in the Saloon.  [...]

The two portraits of Theresa Parker have added poignance as Theresa sadly died in 1775 at the age of only 35. Reynolds was the one to write her obituary, again, a testament to their friendship and his respect of her artistic knowledge and sensibility. 

The paintings will be on display in the house until the end of June.

Special Exhibition for Restored Carracci Fireplaces

May 21 2024

Image of Special Exhibition for Restored Carracci Fireplaces


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A special exhibition has just opened at the Palazzo d'Accursio in Bologna. The show is dedicated to two recently restored fireplaces by Ludovico and Annibale Carracci. The frescos, which were removed from their original settings and placed onto canvas in 1911, were purchased at auction in 2022 by Michelangelo Poletti. The works have since been restored and will now be on display until 22nd September 2024. Click on the link above to read the full story.

See Restoration of Masaccio on Scaffold

May 10 2024

Image of See Restoration of Masaccio on Scaffold


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Visitors to the Florentine Church of Santa Maria Novella will be able to glimpse at Masaccio's The Holy Trinity up-close during the next few weeks. This has been made possible due to a special scaffold having been erected for a conservation project on the wall painting. It will cost a mere €1.50 (on top of your entrance ticket) to see the work up close!

National Trust painting turns out to be a print

May 10 2024

Image of National Trust painting turns out to be a print


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The BBC have reported on news that The National Trust have discovered that a painting, previous catalogued as a work on paper, is in fact a print. The work of art at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk was previously believed to be a straightforward copy of a Van Dyck executed in oil on paper. This was until it was sent away for conservation and its true identity and author was revealed.

According to the press release:

It was discovered the reproduction of the Three Eldest Children of Charles I was in fact a print by Jacob Christoff Le Blon, who first created the three-colour printing process.

"Only three Le Blon prints of it are known to survive, so to have discovered a fourth is really exciting," said National Trust curator Jane Eade. [...]

He was the first to create a three-colour printing process – the forerunner of the CMYK colour printing used today, external.

The revolutionary method used mezzotint, a monochrome printmaking process, with separate plates inked in blue, yellow and red, and superimposed on one another in order to create variable depth of hue.

Rediscovered Caravaggio Conserved and Hung in Prado

May 9 2024

Image of Rediscovered Caravaggio Conserved and Hung in Prado

Picture: apnews

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news broke earlier this week that the rediscovered Caravaggio that reappeared back in 2021 has been conserved and hung in the Prado Museum in Madrid. The loan of the painting has been handled by Colnaghi, whilst the restoration was undertaken by Andrea Cipriani 'and his team in collaboration with two London dealers, Filippo Benappi of Benappi Fine Art and Andrea Lullo of Lullo Pampoulides gallery.'

The painting, alongside a special new study by several academics on the artist and period, will be on display until October 2024.

Adopt a Fresco at the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo a Passignano

May 1 2024

Image of Adopt a Fresco at the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo a Passignano

Picture: Wikipedia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo a Passignano, also known as the Badia di Passignano, are running an 'Adopt a Fresco' scheme to help raise money to conserve their set of 30 wall paintings. Undertaken by Filippo di Antonio Filippelli (1460-1506), a pupil of Domenico Ghirlandaio, the vast scheme of paintings are in need of consolidation and restoration. Donors will have the opportunity to have their names engraved onto a plaque.

Louvre Unveils Conserved Delacroix

April 30 2024

Image of Louvre Unveils Conserved Delacroix

Picture: Delacroix, La Liberté guidant le peuple APRES restauration© GrandPalaisRmn (musée du Louvre) / Adrien Didierjean / Mathieu Rabeau-jpg

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris have revealed Eugène Delacroix's freshly conserved and iconic La Liberté guidant le peuple. The conservation project, the first since 1949, was undertaken by Bénédicte Trémolières and Laurence Mugniot and consisted mostly of removed old yellowed varnish. Apparently, this has led to many new perspectives on the work, including the fact that Liberty's tunic is mostly grey and not uniformly yellow.

The work will be on display again to the public in the Mollien Room from 2nd May 2024.


As mentioned previously, it is very impressive that the Louvre, a museum which has famously resisted restoring many of its works of art, is apparently looking afresh at this tradition. The benefits, if undertaken in a restrained and considered way, can be outstanding. However, the cleaning of a picture can also make you look at it in an entirely different way - I cannot see Fragonard's The Swing in the same light after its cleaning back in 2021, for example. I know that there was a conference on the subject of conservation in the museum a few weeks ago but I missed it, alas.

Recent Release: Radiography and Painting

April 30 2024

Image of Recent Release: Radiography and Painting


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting recent publication which I missed from the end of last year. Radiography and Painting is a two-volume book by Elisabeth Ravaud, a doctor of medicine and a PhD in art history, and examines the history and application of x-rays in the world of paintings.

According to the book's blurb:

Radiography is a technique that has been employed in the study of paintings for more than a century. The history of this method of analysis indicates that its development has been modest since the 1960s, as its use has been limited to reductive approaches that take into account no more than the immediately intelligible signs. By systematically considering the physical mechanisms involved in the creation of an image, this volume seeks to demonstrate that we can access new fields of radiological analysis by identifying two categories of 'signs': those that may be obvious but whose meaning is misleading, and those which are not immediately comprehensible.

This study has been primarily based on a thorough and essential reviewing of current literature concerning the materials and processes used for the making of paintings. The semiological analysis is based on the understanding of the physical phenomena occurring in the formation of the image, and on correlations between the radiographic images of a painting and the information stemming from its observation, other scientific results, and the restoration reports. Furthermore, a number of experiments were conducted to consolidate certain assumptions regarding image-formation mechanisms. Ultimately, this book hopes to show how data resulting from radiographic analysis can be seen and set in a broader context of information on a specific work or a group of works, in order to enrich our knowledge of art history, history of technology, and conservation as well as restoration.

18th Century Watermelon Regatta Conserved in Florida

April 26 2024


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

New from the The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Florida that an 18th century painting known as The Watermelon Regatta has been conserved. The work had been gifted to the gallery by the museum's first Director but had never been in display due to its poor condition. It will be on display in the galleries until later in May.

Restored Paintings from Notre-Dame on Display

April 24 2024

Image of Restored Paintings from Notre-Dame on Display


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A major exhibition has opened today at the Mobilier National in Paris, focusing on restored works from the fire-damaged Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The show features 21 large-scale paintings which have been conserved and presented to the public. This includes 10 of the 'great Mays' which were commissioned by the city's goldsmiths in the 17th and 18th centuries and later donated to the cathedral. Artists represented include Laurent de La Hyre, Aubin Vouet, Charles Le Brun and Eustache Le Sueur.

The display will continue until 21st July 2024.

Kelmscott Manor Raising last £40,000 to Conserve Tapestries

April 22 2024

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Kelmscott Manor, the former Oxfordshire country house of William Morris, is raising the last £40,000 to conserve and reinstate their set of 17th century tapestries. They have already raised £306,000, which is quite an effort, but are asking the public for help to complete the full amount.

According to the website linked above:

One of the Manor’s most important spaces is the Tapestry Room, with its 17th-century Dutch tapestries, a rare survival of its Manor’s pre-Morris interiors. Originally a bedroom, the Tapestry Room acquired an added significance when William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti took on the joint tenancy of Kelmscott Manor in 1871.

Morris loved these rare wall-hangings mellowed by age, declaring that they gave the Tapestry Room ‘an air of romance which nothing else would quite do’. He gravitated there, using it as both workspace and sitting room. It was tapestries such as these that inspired him to learn the technique himself and set about reinventing it.

Click on the link above if you'd like to help and made a donation.

Heemskerck Conserved and Decoupled

April 17 2024

Image of Heemskerck Conserved and Decoupled


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from the Netherlands that a conservation project on Maarten van Heemskerk's Saint Luke Painting the Madonna has recently been completed. The painting, now in the Frans Hals museum, was found to have been two separate paintings which were joined and overpainted at some point during the end of the sixteenth century (click on the link above the see the before image). The work was undertaken in preparation for an exhibition on the artist which opens in September.

Foschi Transfiguration Restored

April 15 2024

Video: Firenze Fuori

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Pier Francesco Foschi's Transfiguration, preserved in the Basilica di Santo Spirito in Florence, has been conserved. The work was undertaken by Kyoko Nakahara and Francesca Brogi in collaboration with the Bottega d'arte Maselli.

Two Canovas Restored in Bologna

April 4 2024

Image of Two Canovas Restored in Bologna


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that two works by Canova have been restored. The Apollino in marble and the Head of an Old Man in terracotta were restored as part of a project by the Musei Civici d'Arte Antica di Bologna, and will go on public display from today onwards. The work was sponsored by the Fondazione Canova and undertaken by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze. 

Prado Conserve Domenico Tintoretto Portrait

April 3 2024

Image of Prado Conserve Domenico Tintoretto Portrait

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Spanish Art Account @Boro_PR has noted on 'X' (formerly Twitter) that the Prado have cleaned Domenico Tintoretto's Young Venetian Woman. Famously, the museum owns a set of bust-length portraits of Venetian women by the artist.

Potter's Bull Restored Live

April 2 2024

Image of Potter's Bull Restored Live


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Visitors to the Mauritshuis in the Hague will be able to watch the conservation of Paulus Potter's famous The Bull live! The 18-month project will include a detailed examination alongside a full restoration of the work, which will be able to be seen behind a glass screen (pictured).

In fact, a discovery has already been made during preliminary research for the project:

Preliminary research has revealed that the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin) owns a painting that can be linked to The Bull [Pictured on the left side in the photo above]. Paintings Conservator Jolijn Schilder of the Mauritshuis discovered that Potter once made a large painting (approx. 2.10 m x 1.70 m) depicting The Abduction of Europa. It turns out that the oval painting Head of a White Bull was once part of this larger painting -- much of which has been lost, leaving only this fragment. The two bulls are different colours, but the heads are depicted in a very similar way. As a result, the ‘Irish’ bull will be an invaluable research companion for the ‘Dutch’ bull. The art historical and technical research into the Head of the White Bull is a collaborative project between the National Gallery of Ireland and the Mauritshuis. Both bulls will be on view during the technical examination at the Mauritshuis between March and May 2024.

Restoring the Louvre's Van Eyck

March 28 2024

Video: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris have made the following video detailing their recent work on Jan van Eyck's La Vierge et l'Enfant au chancelier Rolin. The work is currently the focal point of an exhibition at the museum which runs until June.

Titian's Annunciation Restored

March 27 2024

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Venice that a special display of Titian's newly restored Annunciation has been opened at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. A special campaign of restoration and research, which began in 2021 and was supported by the Save Venice campaign, has been concluded. The freshly conserved painting has been hung at eye level so that visitors can admire the picture up-close.

The display will continue until 2nd June 2024.

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