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Varnish removal

Initial cleaning tests revealed the strong pure colours of the paint surface which had been obscured by the thick yellowed varnish. The pastel-like appearance is due to the coarsely ground pigment particles in the egg tempera medium scattering the light and creating a very different effect to the even gloss of oil paint.

In spite of extensive loss and damage around the perimeter of the composition and several other significant losses, the paint layers were well preserved in the central area and appeared to have suffered very little cleaning abrasion.

Follow the links in the gallery below to see seven details from the painting during cleaning.