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The work before treatment

A framed queen
The portrait came to the conservators framed in an ornate gilded frame with delicate ornaments in the corners. Close inspection through the glass revealed that the parchment was very swollen and inadequately mounted. The deformities were so powerful that some parts of the work were pressed up against the glass in the frame, despite the mount and spacers, and the colour layer was in danger of being smudged or, even worse, lost entirely from the painting support. A thorough restoration, including straightening the painting and refitting it in its climate frame, was necessary.

... Click on arrows in the image carousel below to see illustrations for the following explanation of the work's treatment.

 

1: The painting in its ornamental frame before treatment. Deformations are particularly pronounced in the lower half and the left edge.

2:
The back is protected by a thin wooden board and sealed with an old broken brown paper.

3:
Inside of the glass. Here are clear pigment residues, especially from the dark passages.

Condition and damage

Unframing the work also made it possible to see its structural condition. It was mounted on an old stretcher with nails, with wide strips of paper along the edges. Simultaneously, the consequences of movement of the parchment under changing climatic conditions was revealed:

4:
Lower left corner. Edges of the parchment (and nails) were covered with painted paper strips. Also visible is a tear in the paper strip at the left edge.

5:
Detail from the middle of the left edge. The parchment has pulled away from the paper strip that was attached with thick glue-paste. The strip is cracked under the strong contractions of the parchment.

6:
Lower left corner of the back. The edges are uneven, and remnants of the now very hard and brittle glue-paste from the mount are still in thick clumps to the back.

7:
The work is released from its stretcher, and the strong deformations are clearly visible in raking light. Note the bottom left corner which rises approx. 5cm from the substrate.

Updated: 7.jul.2014
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