Technique and condition
Fine linen canvas is stretched over a stretcher, sized and primed with a water soluble gesso. The gesso retains some of the canvas texture and feint brushstrokes from its application. In some areas it has penetrated through the canvas forming small nodules at the back.
The painting process closely resembles that used by Allen for 'Picnic at Wittenham' (see T06604) painted some eighteen years before. An intricately developed underpainting is glazed over with highly resinous, translucent oil colours, the effect is less atmospheric than 'Picnic and Wittenham'. 'The Return from Cythera' has more strongly differentiated local colours and detailing of forms in the oil glazes and scumbles and less merging of forms.
The painting and its original ornate moulded frame, which was fitted in c.1987, are in good condition. Only minor improvements to the fitting of the painting and glass were required on acquisition.