Conservation – Restoration

We are guided by the principle of managing agents of deterioration, whist preserving, revealing and enhancing the significance and authenticity of objects. Our team applies this philosophy to all projects, allowing the painting to guide treatment, rather than forcing our expectations upon it.

Detail of a full length portrait of a domestic servant from the Broughton castle collection. The painting was brittle with flaking paint, numerous historic damages and crude repairs (left). We knew that cleaning would reveal old fillers and badly matched restoration (middle image) but their complete removal meant we were able to make a more sensitive reconstruction of the facial features (right).
These two rare examples of full scale domestic portraits, discovered at Broughton castle, were restored by the Studio. Please see the Case Study for more detail.

The core studio team specialize in old master paintings whilst drawing on a network of expertise across other disciplines: frames, miniatures, polychromy, paper and textile conservators, liners and structural specialists, technical art historians, scientists and curators.

Girl with a letter, Broughton Castle collection. The painting was disfigured by a degraded yellowed varnish (left). Cleaning revealed the subtleties not visible before such as the colour of the lace and silk, the blue upholstery and the porcelain flesh (middle image); The painting was re-varnished with a conservation grade non-yellowing varnish to saturate the colours and offer long-term protect.

The studio is equipped to undertake structural treatments from tear-mending and correction of canvas deformations to lining and re-lining of paintings. We work collaboratively with panel painting, textile and furniture conservators and liners on complex multidisciplinary projects.

Portrait of Nina Butler by William Carter 1902, Broughton Castle collection. The painting had a very degraded canvas with multiple distortions and a tear (left), which was made secure by lining (right). The painting was also cleaned revealing a fine and lively brushwork. A very thin, almost negligible, layer of varnish was sprayed onto the surface after cleaning to act as a long-term protective layer without altering the paintings original appearance.
H.M.King George VI by Francis Hodge 1938-44, The Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln’s Inn, London. The large tear in the unlined canvas (left) was carefully aligned back into plane, flattened, mended at the back, filled (middle) and retouched to make invisible (right).

Our team is experienced at working on site carrying out minor preventive and remedial treatments as part of the “little and often” principle of housekeeping and collection care. Katya is also trained in salvage and emergency response.

Stabilization treatment of a large 19th century oil painting, which had been discovered in the attics at Broughton Castle. The treatment was carried out in situ to minimize the risks associated with handling and transporting the painting.