Technique and condition

The canvas is relatively fine for a painting of its size and bears a similarly thin white ground layer which the artist remembered in 1991 as being Ripolin emulsion paint. The stretcher is unusually robust and was made by Philip Watkins.

The initial drawing on the white ground is in charcoal. Subsequently applied paint is heavily brushmarked and of significant thickness. The artist found it necessary to key-out the stretcher to maintain an acceptable degree of canvas tension during the extended period of painting. The artist regularly used artists' oil tube paints from Winsor & Newton, from Rowneys and occasionally Schmincke at this time.

The painting is not varnished and the artist regards the glass or acrylic glazing in a frame as serving a similar function to a varnish. Freud selected the present frame which had already been fitted with acrylic glazing at the time of Tate accession in 1990. The painting was in good condition at this time and needed no direct treatment other than improvements to its security in the frame.

Peter Booth