My final project of the summer has been another phase of work on the private domestic wall painting in the Charente, which I have been involved with for several years.
It is an 18th century hunting scene, in the naive style. The medium is oil on plaster, and it is painted around three sides of a chimney piece. The condition originally was poor, due to neglect, abrasions, flaking, man-made holes for later fixtures and fittings (now removed), as well as what appears to have been the deliberate defacement of the figures of the huntsmen, believed to have occurred at the time of the French Revolution.
In previous years I had carried out the majority of the stabilisation work, and completed conservation on the main face of the painting. This phase I worked on one of the side panels, fixing any flaking that still remained, adding fine repairs, uncovering lime wash from the upper decorative ‘marbling’ section of the scene, and then cleaning the whole and spotting out the myriad of losses with a series of toned reversible washes. This allowed the painting to read more legibly without the previously distracting ‘snow storm’ effect produced by the exposed white plaster beneath.
Below are some photos of the work in progress and the section of painting before and after, as well as a detail of a red underdrawing, which is occasionally visible, on one of the hounds.