It’s that time of year again when people start planning to get into the great outdoors. In particular, it’s the season for walking the Te Araroa Trail, the pathway from Cape Reinga in the North Island to Bluff in the South Island, some 3,000 km. I hiked the South IslandRead more

One of the most rewarding stages of the treatment is the varnishing of the painting.  The new varnish layer returns the colours of the painting to the saturation and depth which were intended by the artist and it is when we feel like we are on the home stretch ofRead more

  We have had a very busy start to 2012, we have been working to have Poedua ready for display in March and preparing a number of paintings for the upcoming touring exhibition Angels and Aristocrats. After the painting was re-stretched following the structural treatment, the old restorations including overpaintRead more

The varnish removal is finally complete!  The detail of the brushwork in the Poedua’s face and hair have been revealed and we are one step closer to getting this painting ready for display. During the varnish removal we discovered a damage on the stretcher which meant that we needed toRead more

Hello. Matthew O’Reilly, Framer of Paintings, returning to the subject of Poedua, and particularly, her lovely frame. This is my second post about the conservation of the frame. The first one was in June, and it dealt with understanding the frame and its history well enough, and identifying the questions to beRead more

Flowers 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 varnishesRead more

Hello everyone, we are back with our fortnightly updates on the treatment of John Webber’s Poedua. We are progressing slowing with the cleaning of the painting.  At this stage, the cleaning involves the varnish removal and the removal of overpaints (later additions by a previous restorer). Today’s blog post willRead more

Image of Poedua in its frame immediately after it arrived at Te Papa. Photograph taken by Michael Hall. © Te Papa.

If you have been following Mel and Katherine’s Poedua treatment blogs you may be surprised to read another’s voice on this one – a voice from the edge as it were. I’m Matthew O’Reilly, Framer of Paintings here at Te Papa. My previous blogs were quite some time ago now. KatherineRead more

In the paintings conservation lab, we have been working away steadily on the varnish removal of Poedua.  Every now-and-then we come across a painting where this stage of the treatment is relatively easy, where a simple organic solvent solution is effective in removing the varnish without any effect to anyRead more

Uneven varnish under UV

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 importantRead more

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 thatRead more

Surface Cleaning

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 layerRead more