Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of fine, plain weave linen canvas that was attached to an aluminium stretcher surrounded by softwood battens with staples around all edges. The linen appears commercially primed, but was more likely to have been primed by the artist and then cut down to its present size (the top edge is unprimed). An unpigmented animal glue 'size' layer was probably the first layer to be applied to the canvas. The subsequent white priming is an oil ground, and has the appearance of a coating applied with a roller. The overall priming is even and thin, with the canvas texture still very apparent through it.

Prior to any paint application, the artist drew in the figure and many of the details with an oil stick, which is a pigmented waxy material, often in purple. Most of this preparatory drawing can still be seen through the very thin paint layers. The oil paint that was applied on top of this would have been heavily diluted with white spirits or turpentine and has therefore resulted in extremely thin layers. Many areas also appear to have been rubbed back with a rag immediately after application to thin (and blur) the paint layers even further. Mostly single applications of paint were used, although occasionally the artist used build ups of more that one layer (for example in the hair to right of face). The paint surface essentially conforms to the canvas texture apart from the occasional slight impasto, such as in the eyes and nipples. Much of the white colour used in the body appears to be largely the ground layer and subsequently consists of no paint layers whatsoever. The painting is not varnished.

The painting is in excellent condition and should remain so providing appropriate care is taken when handling and displaying the work.

Tom Learner
June 2000