Sir Abe Bailey Bequest
Conservation
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Henry Raeburn


William Ferguson and his son Acc. No: 1593
oil on canvas
1260 x 1040mm

Previous Condition: The painting had previously suffered structural damage, with a large tear in the area of the boy’s ear some while before Sir Abe Bailey acquired it. An earlier conservator mended the tear and the painting was also composition lined. In this treatment the varnish was removed, small damages were retouched and a final natural resin (damar) varnish applied. In time, the retouching in the area of the tear became discoloured. Further to this the varnish also developed a whiteish and cloudy colour in the lower dark areas which we refer to as blooming. This may have occurred when the picture was stored in humid conditions at some stage, possibly during World War II.

Conservation treatment: Following tests, and the selection of an appropriate cleaning solvent, the surface dirt, varnish and retouchings were removed safely and effectively. The back of the canvas was cleaned and the missing wooden stretcher keys replaced and secured. A non-yellowing modern brush varnish was applied, the previous structural losses were in-painted with special reversible retouching colours and a final conservation varnish was applied. Because the condition of the frame was good, it only needed to have velvet ribbon applied to the rebate. The painting was secured into the frame from behind using brass plates.

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Click the image for a view of: Whole back, before treatmentg
Whole back, before treatmentg
Click the image for a view of: Detail of William Ferguson, before treatment
Detail of William Ferguson, before treatment
Click the image for a view of: Detail of boy, before treatment
Detail of boy, before treatment
Click the image for a view of: Detail of hand, before treatment
Detail of hand, before treatment
Click the image for a view of: Detail of boy's ear, before treatment
Detail of boy's ear, before treatment
Click the image for a view of: Whole front, during varnish removal
Whole front, during varnish removal
Click the image for a view of: Detail of William Ferguson, during varnish removal
Detail of William Ferguson, during varnish removal
Click the image for a view of: Detail of son, during varnish removal and showing overpaint
Detail of son, during varnish removal and showing overpaint
Click the image for a view of: Detail of son, during varnish removal and showing overpaint
Detail of son, during varnish removal and showing overpaint
Click the image for a view of: Whole front, before treatment
Whole front, before treatment
Posted: 2003/12/09 (08:00:00 PM)

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