Paintings

We are responsible for the care and treatment of paintings in our collection from 1500 to the present day

two women inspect and look at a painting

Curator Alison Smith and conservator Natasha Duff discussing Sir John Everett Millais, Bt Hearts Are Trumps 1872 during conservation treatment

Our collection of paintings spans five centuries, from John Bettes’ A Man in a Black Cap 1545 to the work of artists practising today.

The materials and techniques used to make such a variety of paintings vary enormously. Oil paint, canvas, panel, hardboard, egg tempera, glue tempera, beeswax, natural resins, modern synthetic resins, house–paint, chocolate, gold leaf and water–colour all feature in the collection.

Our duties

  • Remove layers of dirt and discoloured varnish
  • Undertake structural work to canvas or wooden panels that support the paint surface
  • Provide technical examination and analysis to develop our understanding

Related projects

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Prior to display at Tate Britain, John Millais’s Hearts are Trumps 1872 underwent major painting and frame conservation