Posts written by kithcampbell

Behind the Scenes of Angels and Aristocrats

Mrs Humphrey Devereux; 1771; Copley, John Singleton.  After treatment, 2012, photograph by Kate Whitley

Te Papa’s latest art exhibition, Angels & Aristocrats, opens on the 20th October in the Level 5 galleries.  The exhibition draws on a number of collections from around New Zealand including artworks from Te Papa’s collection which you will see on display.  Some of these paintings required attention in the conservation lab before the exhibition began, to allow… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 11

  • Poedua flower after cleaning
  • Poedua flower after cleaning
  • detail of flower before cleaning
  • detail of flower before cleaning

The varnish removal of Poedua is progressing slowly and painstakingly and we are now almost halfway through this important part of the treatment.  As we have mentioned before, removal of discoloured varnish can have a dramatic effect on the overall balance, colour and depth of a painting.  Because discoloured varnishes like Poedua’s are usually a… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – part 9

Hello Poedua followers!  Mel and I have taken a break from our treatment of Poedua for a while in order to focus on some other paintings conservation commitments. In the past two months we have been kept busy working on a loan of 23 paintings for the exhibition Painting New Zealand which is currently on display at Tauranga… Read more »

The conservation of Poedua: part 6

  • Varnish removal tests
  • Varnish removal tests
  • Test patches
  • Testing the varnish solubility

Now that the painting has had its layer of surface dirt removed, the next step in the treatment is the removal of the varnish layer.  A lot of the principles that we talked about with surface cleaning, also apply to the removal of varnish layers.  Therefore, prior to beginning it’s important to establish as closely as… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua: Part 4

  • spliced image
  • Surface Cleaning
  • surface cleaning
  • MCP

Now that we have cleaned the back of the canvas we can look at surface cleaning the front of the painting.  This is a separate procedure from the removal of varnish and overpaints and is completed first because surface dirt is the first layer encountered.  The reason we remove the dirt layer on paintings is because it… Read more »

Conservation of Poedua, part 2

  • Poedua inscription
  • Poedua inscription
  • cropped inscription
  • Inscription

Poedua is an oil painting on stretched canvas, meaning the composition is painted on a fabric support which is stretched to keep it evenly tensioned, over an expandable wooden stretcher.  Canvas supports began to replace traditional wooden panel supports from about the 16th century and were the most commonly used type of support by the 18th… Read more »