BEFORE | George Peter Alexander Healy was one of the pre-eminent American portrait painters of the mid nineteenth century. His huge painting Webster’s Reply To Hayne hanging behind the stage at Faneuil Hall, Boston contains one hundred and thirty portraits. In this oval portrait of British Ambassador Lawrence, one can see the result of years of neglect. In addition to the heavy deposits of dirt, grime and discolored varnish, the canvas has split where it turns over the edge of the stretcher. This has resulted in very uneven tension, exacerbated by the oval shape, causing the buckling and severe distortions that can be seen. The frame is also in very poor condition, with chipping gesso, missing gold and dirt.
AFTER | The painting was cleaned, flattened and lined. The bulges, folds, and dents visible in the ‘before’ photo were removed. The finished painting is flat and stable, and the colors look pure and fresh.