Restoration work has started on the British National Gallery's most valuable recent acquisition. It is?
Restoration work has started on the British National Gallery's most valuable recent acquisition. It is a Rembrandt portrait, believed to be of his mistress, Hendrickje Stoffols.
The Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square has not revealed the purchase price but it is believed the market price would be about one million pounds sterling (two million US dollars).
The restoration work is being undertaken by Mr. Arthur Lucas, of the gallery's Restoration Department, who has been on the staff for 30 years. The Department does an average of 200 pictures a year some take only a few minutes work, others must be worked on for up to 20 years.
The portrait had not been seen in public for 40 years before the gallery obtained it. It is regarded as a gentle, intimate and most beautiful portrait by Rembrandt dating from around 1650.
The condition of the painting is excellent, requiring only minor retouching and the removal of heavy varnish applied in the last century. The painting will be re-varnished with plastic varnish and it will be relined, a time consuming process.
The picture will form one of the centre pieces for a major exhibition f Dutch painting to open at the gallery in September.
(This film includes comments made by restores Arthur Lucas. A transcript follows.)