Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of medium-weight, plain-weave linen fabric that was stretched onto a seven-membered softwood expandable stretcher and attached with wire staples at the rear. The canvas was purchased pre-primed and this white commercial priming has been identified through analysis as an acrylic emulsion primer.

Prior to any paint application, the areas of texture would have been established (a texture is apparent in most areas of the painting other than the green). The various textures, which are most visible when the painting is viewed in a raking light, would have been created through the use of an acrylic texture paste, a stiff material that tends to hold its shape. The piece of rope found in the top left corner of the painting would also have been attached to the priming prior to paint application. The paint is acrylic emulsion and was applied exclusively by brush to the stretched face of the canvas and all four tacking edges. The paint would only have been thinned slightly with water before application, with a little more thinning necessary for the bull's head and the items on the table. These two areas were painted very precisely with a small brush, which contrasts strongly to the wider brush and looser technique used for all other areas.

The painting is in excellent condition. The main conservation concern is the piece of rope, which is vulnerable to being snagged. It is essential therefore that the painting be displayed behind a barrier. Providing the appropriate level of care is maintained, the painting should remain in this near pristine state.

Tom Learner
July 2000