Restoration work has started on the British National Gallery's most valuable recent acquisition. It is?
SV EXT. PAN NATIONAL ART GALLERY
SCU INT. REMBRANDT PAINTING AND ARTHUR LUCAS DESCRIBING IT (2 SHOTS)
SOF STARTS:"This Rembrandt.."
SV INSTRUMENTS FOR RESTORING PAINTING
SV & CU LUCAS CLEANING PAINTING (8 SHOTS)
SOF ENDS: "..ALL THE COOL COLOURS.."
Lucas:- "This Rembrandt not only has a tone varnish it has a dirt layer and then the natural discoloured varnish lying be.neath. It's not Rembrandt's varnish, this picture's been cleaned before. And when I start cleaning I have to remove the actual dirt layer and now I am going to use an organic solvent of alcohol and white spirit, quite clean, which will remove the actual varnish and now that is coming off. One does have an X ray photograph. This shows all the actual damages in the paint layer and also a smaller photograph which I was looking at is an infra-red taken by heat rays. This penetrates this discoloured varnish so that I can have a very good idea of the condition beneath all the grime. This picture is actually in incredibly good condition considering its age, painted at the beginning of the seventeenth century. As I've said, cleaned before, of course it has received very few knocks and bangs so there aren't any problems expected. One writes a report before one starts and the trustees of the National Gallery look at this report and it's for them to decide whether the picture's going to be cleaned and of course this picture is incredibly discoloured. This yellowish, brownish, destroys all the cool colours".
Initials RH/2000 AMN/AW/RH/2010
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: 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.)