Technique and condition

This oil painting is on a piece of plainly woven linen canvas with 17 vertical and 16 horizontal picks per centimetre. The support is not lined and is strong and supple. The stretcher appears to be the original, though the attachment is not: a set of tackholes is visible on each tacking margin. It is a plain rectangle composed of four pine members 50 mm wide and 14mm thick. The adjustable, mortise and tenon joints are square cut.

The off-white ground extends over the tacking edges and is composed of a coat of pure lead white in oil on top of a thicker layer of lead white and chalk in oil applied directly to the canvas. The artist began the painting with a detailed, outline drawing in graphite on to the ground, using a ruler for the edges of the buildings. The paint is mainly translucent and smooth, applied with small brushes. Impasto occurs in the centre foreground, tray of sweets and on the fence.

The painting is in very good condition, having hardly any cracks and those few visible only with magnification. The spandrels in the corners of the frame and the inner edge of the stretcher bars have left slight indentations in the support. There has been slight discolouration of the blue sky beneath the spandrels. The blue paint is composed of Cobalt blue, lead white, Mars yellow and ivory or bone black. Small areas of brown have developed minute wrinkles.

After acquisition at the Tate, the painting was surface cleaned. An insert of Artcor with wooded flanges glued to its edges was attached to the back of the stretcher in order to support the unlined canvas.

Rica Jones
August 2000