Titian’s 'Bacchus and Ariadne'



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3. ‘National Gallery Report, January 1965-December 1966’, Published by Order of the Trustees, Publications Department, National Gallery (London 1967), pp.73–5 and 122–3.

4. Members of the international committee were: Dr Arthur van Schendel, at that time President of the International Council of Museums and Director of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Chairman); Dr Harold Plenderleith, at that time Director of the Rome Centre (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property); Mr George Stout, at that time Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (he had been a member of the Weaver Committee in 1947, see below, Note 18).

5. The Report of the international committee is in the National Gallery archives.

6. Farington, J., ‘The Farington Diary’, edited by J. Greig, Hutchinson & Co. (London 1924), Vol. VI, p.266. The copy, small (18in. x 16in.) compared with the original, but large as enamels go, was eventually sold by Bone for 2,200 guineas.

7. ‘Report from the Select Committee on the National Gallery, together with the Minutes of Evidence’, The House of Commons (London 1853), Appendix No.XI, p.769.

8. Buchanan, W., ‘Memoirs of Painting’, Vol.11, R. Ackerman (London 1824), p.147.

9. Farington, J., ‘op. cit.’, Vol.IV, p.116.

10. John Seguier was a leading restorer of the time and the younger brother of William Seguier, first Keeper of the National Gallery from 1824 until his death in 1843. The two brothers had been in partnership as restorers and dealers. Records indicate that they both did surface washing and cleaning of the pictures and revarnishing, but not often varnish removal.

11. The 'Gallery Varnish' was a topic much discussed at the 1853 Select Committee. There seems no doubt that it was a varnish of mastic in turpentine with a proportion of drying oil (i.e. oil, usually linseed, heated with a lead compound, such as litharge, in order to render it quicker-drying). The proportion of drying oil used seems not very well defined and may have been quite large on occasion. In his evidence to the 1853 Select Committee, Seguier gives several reasons for the addition of the drying oil, one being to avert the 'bloom' or bluish haze which tends to develop on varnish films, particularly on mastic varnish and more so in a polluted atmosphere such as prevailed in the neighbourhood of the National Gallery in the mid-19th century.

12. The 'Pettenkofer Process' was a means of reviving and clarifying, without removal, a dull or semi-opaque varnish on a painting by exposing the surface to alcohol vapour. Patents were taken out by its inventor in the 1860s and the method also published by him (see Pettenkofer, M. v., 'Über Ölfarbe und Konservierung der Gemälde-Gallerien durch das Regenerations-Verfahren' (Braunschweig 1870). The beneficial effects produced were not likely to have been very long-lasting. The process is of interest as the forerunner of modern 're-forming' techniques sometimes used as a preliminary stage to varnish removal.

13. William Morrill & Son, Est. 1827, describing themselves as 'Picture Liner etc.', was a family firm of restorers which did work for the National Gallery over a good deal of the 19th and early 20th century.

14. H. Buttery, 'Restorers of Pictures in Ordinary to H.M. the Queen, was another family firm of which several generations worked for the National Gallery. Taking off varnish 'with the finger' signifies dry rubbing which was occasionally used as a method of cleaning. It depends on the fact that old varnish films, in particular mastic and dammar resins, tend to loose their film-forming properties with age and become brittle, so that old varnish can sometimes be rubbed off the picture as a dry powder. It is not a very efficient method of removal and unlikely to succeed if the varnish contains drying oil, as did that of the ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’.

15. E.J. Poynter, R.A. was Director of the National Gallery from 1894 to 1904.

16. Polishing, presumably with wax, was probably done to freshen up the surface of the picture after it had been brought out of its wartime storage. W. Vallance was a member of another family firm employed from time to time by the National Gallery. As will be seen from David Bomford's article (p.00 of this ‘Bulletin’), the Conservation Department of the National Gallery was established as late as 1946, in the sense of a permanent salaried staff working full-time on the premises. Before then the Gallery had employed private restorers on contract who worked under supervision in the Gallery and brought their own materials. W. Vallance was one of the last to be employed on this basis and was still undertaking some work in 1950 after the setting up of the new Department.

17. ‘An Exhibition of Cleaned Pictures (1936–1947)’, printed for the Trustees of the National Gallery (London 1947, second edition 1948).

18. A Committee of Confidential Inquiry, consisting of Mr J.R. Weaver, President of Trinity College, Oxford, as Chairman: Mr G.L. Stout, then head of the Department of Conservation, Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University, and Dr Paul Coremans, head of the Central Laboratory, Belgian National Museums. An abridged version of the Committee's Report was published in ‘Museum’ (UNESCO, Paris), 3 (1950), pp.112–76.

19. ‘National Gallery Report, fanuary 1967-December 1968’, Published by Order of the Trustees, Publications Department, National Gallery (London 1969), p.45.




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