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David Roberts

TITLE: Interior of Cathedral of St Stephens, Vienna TECHNIQUE: Oil on canvas
SIGNATURE: David Roberts, 1855
DIMENSIONS: 430 x 1220 mm
FRAME: Wooden, gesso moulded, gilded gold
TREATMENT: November 2008 – January 2009

SECONDARY SUPPORT This is a 5 member mortise-and-tennon stretcher (W: 20m T: 65mm), 10 keys are present. The general condition is good. The stretcher may be a later addition, as the painting has been lined commercially.

PRIMARY SUPPORT The primary support is a medium-weight tabby weave canvas. It is a commercially prepared canvas, as the ground extends to the tacking margin. Two holes are seen in the canvas, which have been repaired in previous restoration. These are located in the bottom right area, when viewed from the back. The tacks are evenly placed with a 70mm spacing.

GROUND The ground cream in colour and in a sound condition.

PAINT LAYER The paint has been applied thinly in glazes with only a few areas of impasto in the highlights. The crack pattern from the stretcher bar can be seen and a fine age pattern can be seen. This is especially clear in the dark areas of the painting.

VARNISH LAYER The natural resin varnish layer is discoloured and a layer of surface dirt covers this. This is not the original varnish as the painting has been previously restored.

  • Photographic record was taken and this was maintained throughout treatment.
  • Tests were carried out to remove the surface dirt and this was removed using the appropriately selected reagent.
  • Following tests including a safety margin-cleaning test, an organic solvent was selected to remove the discoloured varnish layer safely and effectively. Cleaning proceeded using a swab stick. Due to the medium in the paint, it was necessary to only thin the varnish in the darker areas.
  • An isolating brush conservation varnish was applied. Localized losses in the areas of the drying cracks were retouching and a final varnish applied.
  • The frame, both front and back were cleaned, small losses filled and coloured and the painting was secured using brass plates.

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Click the image for a view of: Whole front, before treatment
Whole front, before treatment
Click the image for a view of: Whole back
Whole back
Click the image for a view of: Whole front, during cleaning
Whole front, during cleaning
Click the image for a view of: Detail of cathedral
Detail of cathedral
Click the image for a view of: After treatment
After treatment
Posted: 2008/12/10 (10:00:00 AM)

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