Posts tagged with Poedua

The Conservation of Poedua: Part 5

  • The painting after the surface cleaning.  The varnish layer still hides the true colours and tones, but already we see a great improvement.  Photograph by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • Katherine works cleaning the top left corner.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011.  © Te Papa.
  • The cleaning is almost there!  The top left of this detail is all that remains of the surface dirt layer.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • Cleaning progressed from right to left.  In this detail the difference between the dirty and the cleaned sections is distinct.  Photograph taken by Katherine Campbell, 2011.  © Te Papa.

In our last post we discussed the process of testing to identify the most appropriate cleaning solution to remove the surface dirt layer from the painting. After finding the best cleaning solution for the painting the surface cleaning can begin, but we always carefully monitor our progress to ensure that the cleaning solution is working… 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 »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 3

  • In the centre of this photo the canvas has a grey appearance where it is yet to be cleaned.  The P of Poedua has been cleaned and is clearer and easier to read.  Photograph by Katherine Campbell, 2011. © Te Papa
  • As I hold the painting, Katherine uses a palette knife to gently dislodge dust and debris caught between the stretcher member and the canvas.  A pile of dust can be seen on the table top.  Photograph by Matthew O'Reilly, 2011. © Te Papa
  • Katherine cleaning the reverse of the canvas
  • Dusting the reverse of the canvas with a brush and indirect vacuum.  Photograph taken by Katherine Campbell, 2011. © Te Papa

After completing our technical examination of the painting, taking lots of pre-treatment photographs and writing the condition report, we write a treatment proposal for the painting.  We consider the current condition of the painting and what we would like to achieve with different treatments.  Our proposal is discussed with the curator and together we outline… 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 »

The conservation of Poedua – part 1

  • Ultra-violet photograph of Poedua, 2011, Photograph by Melanie Carlisle © Te Papa
  • Ultra-violet photograph of the painting, 2011, Photograph by Melanie Carlisle. © Te Papa
  • Infrared photograph - detail, 2011, Photograph by Michael Hall. MA_I227737. © Te Papa
  • Katherine examining the painting with a hand-held microscope

Welcome to the first blog to keep you up-to-date with the conservation treatment of John Webber’s portrait of Poedua.  Katherine Campbell and I, the two paintings conservators here at Te Papa, will aim to post fortnightly on the progress of our work, offering you insight into what happens to a painting during a conservation treatment…. Read more »

‘Pacific princess’ – one painting, so many stories

MP Charles Chauvel at the blessing for Poedua.

The blessing for the painting of Poedua (Poetua), a princess from the Society Islands, by John Webber (1751-1793) was a much needed bright spot at Te Papa last week – a week when New Zealand reeled from news of the Pike River mining disaster. This remarkable painting, recently purchased by Te Papa, has lots of stories to tell… Read more »