Reinstating a Grotesque

If long-time readers of this blog cast their minds back they may recall that in November of 2012 paintings conservators came to Knole to remove and restore some of the grotesque paintings in the Cartoon Gallery.

After two and a half years of being away the last and largest grotesque has finally returned and has been reinstated on the south wall of the gallery.

 

The largest piece of canvas just after it was removed. Considerable damage and unsympathetic repairs resulted in the jigsaw effect you see here.

The largest piece of canvas just after it was removed. Considerable damage and unsympathetic repairs resulted in the jigsaw effect you see here.

 

 

Voila! The conserved grotesque back at Knole and ready to go up on the wall!

Voila! The conserved grotesque back at Knole and ready to go up on the wall!

The grotesque has been the subject of intense restoration work since it left Knole. The original vibrant colours have been brought back and the patches blended beautifully with the main canvas to recreate the piece of art that had been lost for so long. The canvas has been mounted on a special polyester sailcloth lining in order to give further protection to the canvas. It’s now ready to be reattached to bare wood panelling.

 But first!

There are a few more things we need to do before we can mount the canvas. In order to gain access to the wood panelling we needed to take down the magnificent pier glass mirror that hangs there.

 After building our scaffold tower and carefully bringing down this (rather heavy) mirror we noticed a certain amount of woodworm damage in both the panel and the mirror itself. This is not particularly surprising given the prevalence of woodworm and all sorts of other creepy crawlies throughout the house!

3

Some tunnels left by hungry furniture beetle (woodworm) in the panels behind the grotesque.

We carefully brushed the excess dirt and frass (wood dust and woodworm excrement) into vacuums before applying a light coating of ‘Constrain’ insecticide. After leaving this for an hour to dry we returned to find it still a little damp. As we needed to get the job done by the end of the day we decided we would help it dry a little faster!

Sarah using a hairdryer to gently dry the Constrain solution.

Sarah using a hairdryer to gently dry the Constrain solution.

Now we’re ready to reinstate the grotesque!

Siobhan (our outgoing Project Conservator and incoming Conservation Studio Manager) and Martha (our incoming Project Conservator) lifting the grotesque into its old home.

Siobhan (our outgoing Project Conservator and incoming Conservation Studio Manager) and Martha (our incoming Project Conservator) lifting the grotesque into its old home.

Home again at last!

Home again at last!

Back home and looking fabulous once again!

Knole Conservation Team

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