Category: Conservation

See the Brancacci Chapel by Scaffold

February 17 2022

Image of See the Brancacci Chapel by Scaffold


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Upcoming visitors to Florence will have the most marvellous opportunity to see the famous Brancacci Chapel like never before. (spotted via. @maaikesartstories) Due to the aforementioned restoration project announced last year, a scaffold has been erected in the Carmine Church to allow conservators to get up close to these important frescos by Masaccio and Masolino.

In fact, visitors will now have the opportunity to book a special ticket to walk on the scaffold to see the wall paintings up-close for themselves. The Chapel will be open to the public four days a week: Friday, Saturday, Monday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday between 1pm to 5pm. Tickets are limited and must be booked in advance.

Royal Museums Greenwich raising funds to Conserve Tapestry

February 17 2022

Video: Royal Museums Greenwich

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is raising funds to restore the Solebay Tapestry. The wall hanging, commissioned by King Charles II and dated to c.1672, was designed by artist Willem Van de Velde. The museum is hoping to raise £15,000 for the project which will hopefully be completed in time for the museum's 2023 exhibition on the Van de Veldes (!)

Saved Art Treasures in Minsk

February 11 2022

Image of Saved Art Treasures in Minsk


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for being rather late to this. A rather interesting exhibition at the Belarusian National Arts Museum in Minsk will be closing this weekend. Saved Art Treasures is a show highlighting several dozens of works (mostly icons) that have been restored by the museum since 2010. The artworks, largely dating from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries, were discovered in the abandoned attics of churches, bell towers, church cellars and other such places.

For any readers who might be in Minsk at the weekend, the exhibition closes on 13th February 2022.

Restoring Guido Reni's 'Aurora' Fresco

February 10 2022

Image of Restoring Guido Reni's 'Aurora' Fresco

Picture: Il Giornale dell'Arte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Italy's Il Giornale dell'Arte have published an interesting interview with the conservators of Guido Reni's frescos in the Casino di Scipione Borghese, Rome. The delicate conservation of Reni's Aurora, located in a building which remains in private hands, was undertaken by Laura Cibrario and Fabiola Jatta. It seems that the wall paintings have a long and complicated history of conservation, having been treated every half century since 1850. The piece is well worth a read.

The Burrell Collection to Reopen on 29th March

February 9 2022

Image of The Burrell Collection to Reopen on 29th March

Picture: @burrellcollect

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news that the Burrell Collection in Glasgow will be reopening to the public on 29th March 2022. It has been closed for five years due to a vast renovation project which has cost no less than £68.5m in total.

According to the museum's press release:

New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the international significance of The Burrell Collection’s artworks and the people who made them and some of the people who have owned them. In total 225 displays will spread across 24 galleries. The displays include innovative digital elements such as video walls, interactives and hybrid systems created to help people engage with the stories behind the Collection. 

A new central stairway will allow visitors access to the lower floor of The Burrell Collection for the first time, where they can watch items not on display being cared for. A new temporary exhibition space has also been created. Similarly, new galleries have been created on upper floors which will take visitors to spaces in the building they have never seen before. 

The museum’s environmental performance has been enhanced by greatly improving the building’s exterior through a new roof, glazing and cladding, and by replacing power, heating and lighting systems with more efficient and sustainable technologies.

Is it a Reynolds?

February 9 2022

Video: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I'm sure that many loyal readers of AHN have already watched the last ever episode of Britain's Lost Masterpieces. However, if you have a UK TV License, and are curious to know whether Bendor and his team have uncovered a forgotten work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, then you'll be able to catch up here via. the BBC IPlayer.

Examining Watts's Lady Dalrymple

February 4 2022

Image of Examining Watts's Lady Dalrymple

Picture: @WattsGallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, have published an interesting blog regarding the recent technical examination of GF Watts's Lady Sophia Dalrymple. The work has been scanned and analysed before it heads off to the RA's Whistler exhibition set to open later this month.

Erasmus Darwin's Mother Repaired and Back on the Wall

February 4 2022

Image of Erasmus Darwin's Mother Repaired and Back on the Wall


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I was pleased to see this piece of local news from Lichfield, Staffordshire, that a portrait of Dr Erasmus Darwin's mother Elizabeth Darwin, née Hill (1702–1797), has been restored and redisplayed. The painting, belonging to the Erasmus Darwin Museum in the city, had fallen off the wall last February and been badly damaged (pictured). The ArtUK website shows that the portrait had been gifted to the museum as recently as 2010. Thankfully, the painting has been repaired and conserved by Tadley Services Ltd and has been redisplayed for visitors.

Dodrechts Museum acquires Samuel van Hoogstraten

February 4 2022

Image of Dodrechts Museum acquires Samuel van Hoogstraten


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Dodrechts Museum in the Netherlands has acquired and displayed Samuel van Hoogstraten's portrait of Sir Norton Knatchbull. It was acquired by the museum after it came up for sale at Sotheby's from the Mountbatten collection in 2021 where it sold for £176,400 (inc. commission). As the oil on canvas makes clear the portrait painted in 1667 in London takes inspiration from both Van Dyck and Rembrandt (van Hoogstraten's teacher).

Click on the link above to see some lovely details of the picture while it was being cleaned. The transformation is very impressive!

The Recovered Masterpieces at Versailles

February 1 2022


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palace of Versailles will be opening a fascinating exhibition in a few days time on several sculptures that have been recovered (and conserved - see the video above) for their collection.

According to the exhibition's website:

The Palace of Versailles is presenting two masterpieces of 18th-century sculpture, commissioned by Louis XIV and Louis XV respectively: Zéphyr, Flore et l’Amour, and L'Abondance. These works, recently rediscovered and identified after many years of searching, and are now entering the Palace of Versailles’ collections. The exhibition is an opportunity to retrace the unique journey of these works, from their creation to their entrance in the national collections.

L’Abondance represents an allegory for renewed prosperity under the auspices of the peace-making king. In 1773, it was placed in the gardens of the Château of Menars (Loir et Cher), inherited by Marquis of Marigny Abel-François Poisson from his sister, the Marquessa of Pompadour. As the Director of the King’s Buildings from 1751 to 1773, Marigny benefited from Louis XV’s generosity. This included the donation of many sculptures kept in the royal warehouses, one of which was Zephr et Flore in 1769. This prestigious collection of sculptures was broken up and dispersed at a sale in 1881, with brothers Alphonse and Edmond de Rothschild both acquiring some of the finest works. This is how Zéphyr et Flore and L’Abondance joined the collections assembled by passionate lover of art, Alphonse de Rothschild, in his iconic Parisian hotel on Rue de Saint-Florentin.

The exhibition will include several loans, including paintings and tapestries which show the works in-situ, and will run from 5th February 2022 until 5th June 2022.

Refurbished galleries at the Ulster Museum

January 28 2022

Image of Refurbished galleries at the Ulster Museum

Picture: Twitter via. @annemillarstew1

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Senior Curator of the Ulster Museum Anne Stewart has shared this very impressive preview of the newly refurbishing galleries of the museum. The museum, with its brand-new lighting for its picture collection in a display called Renaissance to Romanticism, will be reopening to visitors on 1st February 2022.


Is it just me, or are there absolutely no details about the refurbishment or display featured on the museum's website?

Galleria dell'Accademia Reopens Renovated Galleries

January 25 2022

Image of Galleria dell'Accademia Reopens Renovated Galleries


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence have reopened a set of newly refurbished galleries. These rooms house the museum's collections of thirteenth and fourteenth century paintings, including works by the Master of the Magdalene, the Master of Santa Cecilia, Taddeo Gaddi, Bernardo Daddi, Andrea di Cione known as Orcagna and Pacino di Buonaguida. These fragile works will now enjoy new lighting as well as a new air conditioning system.

Cabinet des Clouet Refreshed at the Château de Chantilly

January 25 2022

Image of Cabinet des Clouet Refreshed at the Château de Chantilly


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Château de Chantilly in France reopened to visitors last week. The conservators and curators took to opportunity during the winter break to refresh the famous Cabinet des Clouet. This included hanging new silks made to the original designs found in the room. The pictures will all be conserved in due course too. This recent campaign of work has been supported by the La Marck Foundation.

Paleis Het Loo set to Reopen in April 2022

January 24 2022

Video: Paleis Het Loo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The magnificent Paleis Het Loo in the Netherlands is set to reopen on 15th April 2022 after a long conservation and refurbishment project. The project, which began in 2018, has seen a major expansion of exhibition spaces alongside public facilities for visitors. The whole rennovation is estimated to have cost around €123,200,000 in total (!)

Rubenshuis to close 2023 - 2027

January 21 2022

Image of Rubenshuis to close 2023 - 2027


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems like something of a conspiracy that none of the major art museums in Antwerp are allowed to be open at the same time.

Just as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is set to open on 25th September 2022, the Rubenshuis has announced that it will be closing for several years as part of a major refurbishment. The museum is set to close on 9th January 2023 and will reopen in 2027. I suppose we might admit that the Rubenshuis has done much of the 'heavy lifting' since the KMSKA closed in 2011 and deserves some treatment of its own.

According to the Rubenshuis's website:

The Rubens House has been discreetly building the future behind the scenes.  The planned reception building in Hopland by Robbrecht & Daem Architects constitutes a first, major step toward the 21st century. The contemporary facilities will resolve many of the problems or shortcomings that visitors, researchers and employees currently experience.  With the revamp of the artist’s home in Wapper, the Rubens House is also renovating his largest masterpiece. The restoration will create more space for visitors and international exhibitions. The museum will also be fitted with optimised climate control, that meets the highest standards.

We will combine passive measures and sustainable techniques to optimally manage the indoor climate of this historic dwelling. A comprehensive restoration of the museum’s interior will enhance the experience while the addition of a lift means the museum will become largely accessible for people with disabilities. All the interventions will take place within the existing walls with the greatest care.

GF Watts's Limnerslease Conserved and Reopened

January 20 2022

Image of GF Watts's Limnerslease Conserved and Reopened


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Last month saw the reopening of George Frederic Watts's Limnerslease in Compton, Surrey, after several months of conservation work after an electrical fire in September 2020. Although the building was thankfully not destroyed, thick smoke left a residue on the interiors and on many of the paintings. Conservation work has now been completed and visitors are once again able to see Watts's house and studios.

According to the Watts Gallery's blog:

Our De Lazlo Paintings Conservator, coordinated a team of four freelance paintings conservators working within four temporary studio spaces within the Clore Learning Studio in the building. Each of the 27 oil paintings by G F Watts were photographed, de-framed, examined and cleaned with full condition reports written; this included the full assessment and treatment of the four by three metre square painting, The Court of Death on loan from the Tate. 

The Court of Death and The Patient Life of Unrequited Toil were the only two artworks to remain in situ in the G F Watts Studio during the building works, both crated in the centre of the space, requiring invigilation throughout the project whilst cleaning and redecoration took place.

A Painting underneath a Painting underneath a Painting...

January 20 2022

Image of A Painting underneath a Painting underneath a Painting...

Picture: Sworders

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I imagined that some readers might find this curious painting amusing. The following oil on canvas catalogued as 'English School, 18th Century - Still life of fruit in a landscape with two different portraits beneath' is coming up for sale at the auction house Sworders in February.

I wonder what the conservator was thinking when all of those different levels of paint began to emerge...

Odesa Museum still waiting for its Restored 'Caravaggio'

January 18 2022

Image of Odesa Museum still waiting for its Restored 'Caravaggio'

Picture: Kyiv Post

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted this rather curious article from Ukraine regarding the strange fate of a version of Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ belonging to the Odesa Museum.

The painting, which some believe might be a repetition of the painting in Dublin, was stolen from the museum in 2008. It was later recovered in 2010 during a police sting in Berlin. The canvas had been cut from the stretcher and was in a rather bad state. It took until 2018 for the go-ahead for a restoration project to be authorised, a campaign that was undertaken in Kiev and was due to end last year.

However, it seems the work is still incomplete and the painting remains in the capital. Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky is said to have recently met with museum officials in Odesa and discussed the eventual return of the painting to the museum.

Damages to Stately Homes from Period Dramas

January 18 2022

Image of Damages to Stately Homes from Period Dramas

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

If you're like me, then tv period dramas are actually just an excuse to peer inside great stately homes and their collections.

The Daily Telegraph published an article today giving an interview with location manager Mark Ellis who has worked on shows such as Downtown Abbey. The piece shows how important such filming has become in supporting the incomes of British stately homes who regularly need big bags of cash to re-lead old roofs etc.

Ellis also details some of the damages to houses and properties that have occurred in the past including:

For filming to be a positive experience, you as the owner need to be clear about what the crew can and cannot do and where they have access, warns the Countess of Carnarvon. The rule at Highclere is that the crew never touches anything; if a piece of furniture or a painting needs to be moved it must be done by the Countess’s staff – Ellis suspects this is because of an incident on the inaugural day of filming Downton, when a turquoise chest belonging to the Countess was knocked onto the floor and broken. “It turned out to be one of her prized possessions and had to be sent to Sotheby’s for repair,” he recalls…

All breakages and damage are, of course, covered by the film crew’s insurance but Ellis dreads owning up. “It’s a tense, high-pressure situation but we talk it through, I never bluff, I apologise and we get it sorted out.” He remembers a crew member at a different stately location enthusiastically stapling blackout curtains to 15th-century beams, costing the film crew £15 per staple in repair bills, and another occasion where a crew security guard knocked a piece of timber through an oil painting. “Would I let a film crew in my house? Never,” he laughs.

The Louvre Conserves Delacroix's Femmes d'Alger

January 13 2022

Image of The Louvre Conserves Delacroix's Femmes d'Alger

Picture: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris has had Eugene Delacroix's Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement conserved. The 1834 work was presented to the Museum in 1874 and hadn't been restored in many decades. The work was undertaken by Bénédicte Trémolières and Luc Hurter in the workshop of the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF) using funds from the patronage of Mme Ealet.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.