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11 Aug 2017

Paintings undergoing conservation

A man stands in front of a large painting and uses a tool to carefully clean the canvas.
Conservation work on a painting at Hill of Tarvit
This photo essay illustrates behind-the-scenes conservation work, showing varnish being removed and paint losses being filled.

A large portion of the conservation work involves removing layers of varnish. Applied over time to protect the paint surface, varnish discolours and darkens; this alters the appearance of a painting. In this case the varnish had yellowed, disguising the original colours and tones so the painting had lost its luminosity and depth.

A large, square, unframed painting is displayed on a support easel, with a reference colour bar at the bottom. The painting is dark and shows some spaniels lying on the ground, next to a pile of shot game birds. An alive owl sits on a branch behind them.
Painting before conservation
Two images of a painted sculpture head are shown side by side. The one on the left has a large white mark across the canvas, which has been removed on the image on the right.
Sculpture head before and after remedial work

Hounds and an Owl with Dead Birds and Sculptures in a Landscape is one of three paintings that will be rehung at Hill of Tarvit in November this year. A time-lapse video showing the paintings being taken down can be seen at the property all season.

A man stands close to a painting on a large easel and carefully scrapes at an area of the canvas.
Working in the studio
A large square painting is displayed on an easel in an ornate gilt frame. The painting is bright and colourful, and shows two dogs lying beside a pile of dead game birds.
Painting after conservation

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