Detail of overpaint at the edge of 'Man of War in a Harbour'. There has been a varnish removal test in the area over the masts. To the right is an example of overpaint covering cracks.
The paint has an off white ground. There are areas throughout where the paint is thin, making it difficult to tell if this is due to artist's technique or if the paint has been thinned with a previous conservation treatment. Some paint passages have been thinly painted, such as the brown passage in the right foreground. The rigging in the ship appears to be largely intact. There are occasional localised losses.
The paint has a crack pattern throughout, and appears to have had a problem in the past with raised, flaking paint. It is likely that this is the reason why the painting was lined originally. There are stretcher bar cracks along all edges.
The edges of the original canvas have much overpaint. Several of the stretcher bar cracks are retouched; there is also much retouching in the foreground in the sea. This has become discoloured, but it is localised and carefully done.
The cracks that have been retouched do not seem to be too pronounced, but it is possible that when the vanish is removed, that these will become more noticeable.
There is the occasional old loss in the foreground at the bottom of the painting in the dark shadows in the sea. These are associated with the raised cracking and are currently sound. There has not been any recent movement in the cracking.
There is a whitish blanched effect in localised areas of the sky, such as the brown clouds to the left of the ship. It is difficult to say which layer this is in, whether it is a disturbed varnish, a discoloured retouching or disturbed paint layer.
Detail of sky showing an example of white blanched area
Several areas of the painting look very thin with scumbled paint over the top. It is possible that there are large areas of retouching.
The varnish is very discoloured and very patchy. This patchiness could relate to an earlier retouching campaign.
There is a thick layer of dirt.