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Finishing touches to Murillo

5 December 2017 by Olympia Diamond

Installation of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory at the walker Art Gallery

Installation of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory (1673) at the Walker Art Gallery

The practical treatment of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory (1673) finished in August, marking the end of a year-long major conservation project, which you can track in my previous blog posts.

The final phase of treatment involved retouching damages and losses on the oil sketch and Virgin and Child in Glory (1673).

The dramatic history of the painting, including the cutting and removal of the central section of the Madonna and Child, meant that two pieces from the same artwork had separate histories, and thus visually aged differently.

Read more…

Revealing Murillo…treatment underway

10 May 2017 by Olympia Diamond

During treatment photograph. Varnish has been removed from the left sided of her face.

During treatment photograph. Varnish has been removed from the left side of her face.

The practical treatment of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory (1673) has been progressing at a steady pace. My initial examinations, discussed in my last blog, involved investigating the layer of varnish on the surface of the painting…

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It begins! The conservation of Murillo’s Virgin and Child in Glory

16 March 2017 by Olympia Diamond

Detail image before treatment of Virgin and Child in Glory, c. 1673

Upon viewing Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory at the Walker, I admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by the subject staring down at me. However, after it arrived in our paintings conservation studio and was removed from its brightly gilded frame, the painting was subdued yet quietly powerful.  And in need of some care and attention…
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Victorian Treasures – A conservation perspective

10 March 2017 by David Crombie

Installing Perseus and Andromeda

My colleague Alex Patterson has described in a previous blog how this fantastic display of works from National Museums Liverpool’s collections formed part of a touring exhibition that went to four venues in Japan over 2015 and 2016. This sort of large touring show involves a huge amount of organisation by many different people, and is by far the largest exhibition loan of its kind that I have been involved with during my time at National Museums Liverpool. It is also a big undertaking from a conservation point of view, as there is so much to think about in terms of protecting so many key works.

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Before and after: Princess Emilia of Saxony’s makeover

27 February 2017 by Felicity

Hans Krell’s Princess Emilia of Saxony, following conservation work

Princess Emilia of Saxony has recently enjoyed a makeover, courtesy of our conservation team! The painting by the German artist Hans Krell has been restored and cleaned by paintings conservator Rebecca Kench. In this post, Rebecca talks us through some key moments from the conservation process, as illustrated by the images in the slideshow: Read more…

The mysterious Master of Frankfurt

22 December 2016 by Scott Smith

virgin-and-child

‘The Holy Family with Music Making Angels’ by the Master of Frankfurt

‘The Holy Family with Music Making Angels’ by the mysterious ‘Master of Frankfurt’ is one of the many glorious 16th century paintings in the Walker Art Gallery’s collection. Whilst undertaking restoration of the painting, our conservator David Crombie discovered that the anonymous painter may have left more of himself in the painting than he realised…

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Christopher Wood uncovered

28 November 2016 by Olympia Diamond

Still Life with Tureen and Fruit by Christopher Wood

Still Life with Tureen and Fruit by Christopher Wood after treatment and conservation works

In 2016 the opportunity to investigate and conserve the painting, Still Life with Tureen and Fruit, 1925 by British Artist Christopher Wood (1901-1930) arose when the painting was requested for loan to an exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.  Wood, born in Knowsley, Merseyside, was an early pioneer of British modern art and the exhibition, titled Christopher Wood: Sophisticated Primitive 2 July – 2 October 2016, was the first retrospective of Wood’s career since 1979. It was an exciting chance to breathe new life in his work.

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Revealing the dramatic history behind Murillo’s iconic altarpiece

22 November 2016 by Felicity

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s painted altarpiece, Virgin and Child in Glory (1673), has left the Walker Art Gallery for the first time since it was acquired in 1953.

The iconic work has travelled to our conservation studio where it will undergo major technical investigation work, funded by the Art Fund. This will be the first detailed conservation treatment to be carried out on the altarpiece since the early 1860s. Read more…

Lady Hamilton restored and rediscovered

30 March 2016 by David Crombie

Lady Hamilton's face

Detail of Lady Hamilton’s face from the painting, after conservation.

In summer 2015 Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun’s painting Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante from the Lady Lever Art Gallery was conserved by Kristina Mandy. Kristina joined National Museums Liverpool as a paintings conservator on a six month contract from May to November 2015. She describes her work on the painting, which you can now see back on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery:

“During my contract at National Museums Liverpool I had the fantastic opportunity to conserve this beautiful portrait of Lady Hamilton from the early 1790s. Read more…

Restoring the Falaba painting

30 April 2015 by Sam

David Crombie with a painting on an easel with with patches of paint loss

Working on removing excess fill from the losses to bring the levels in line with the rest of the paint surface – there were a lot of big losses!

This is the last of a series following the conservation of the painting ‘Falaba’ by Gerald M Burn, to prepare it for display in the Lusitania: life, loss, legacy exhibition. In previous posts I have described the structural treatment, cleaning and lining of the painting.

Once the painting was safely re-stretched onto the wooden stretcher, the two main things left to do were to fill in the paint losses and then inpaint (or retouch) the losses to match the surrounding original paint. Filling was carried out with fine chalk mixed with a water soluble synthetic resin, giving a paste that could be applied the areas of paint loss – this was done with a small palette knife which helped to imitate some of the texture of the original paint.

Once this had dried out, the excess filler could be removed with small cotton wool swabs wetted with water. After that, I could adjust and improve the fill texture as necessary. Then came the exciting stage Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.