Technique and condition

The painting is on linen canvas made up of three pieces. The largest, measuring 1763 x 1173mm, contains the Lady, her son and the back half of the dog. The strip containing Pan, the tree trunk and the rest of the dog is made up of two vertical pieces joined horizontally about halfway up the picture. Raking light photographs suggest that the pieces are sewn together at butt joins but this cannot be confirmed, as the back is obscured by a lining canvas. The lining adhesive is glue and the stretcher is of pine. Its construction (four outer bars braced at each corner with a diagonal bar, all joints adjustable with wedges) could date from the early nineteenth century.

Infra-red photography shows that the upper right quadrant and lower right corner have been repainted to obscure a group of putti in the first area and a stringed musical instrument in the second. Analysis of the blue paint obscuring the putti (done by Dr.Joyce Townsend in 1996, using polarising light microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-Ray), indicated that it is Phthalocyanine blue, which has been available only since 1935.

The painting is awaiting cleaning to remove the discoloured varnish and the restorations.

Rica Jones
November 1997