John Lessore

Paule and Rémi in the Dining Room

1964

Medium
Oil paint on hardboard
Dimensions
Support: 460 x 415 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the executors of the estate of David Wilkie 1993
Reference
T06692

Display caption

This painting depicts Paule, the artist's wife, together with their first child Rémi. Wilkie seems to have admired and responded to this image of quiet harmony, domestic security and family tenderness. In common with Lessore's work in general, the atmosphere of a particular moment has been captured and revealed through the relation of the figures. The sense of calm and intimacy is enhanced further by Lessore's use of subtle differences in tone, and subdued colours. At the same time the brushwork has a freshness and immediacy which evoke the sense of an informal scene glimpsed momentarily.

Gallery label, September 2004

Technique and condition

The painting was executed in oil colours on the smooth side of a single piece of 3/8 hardboard. On the back of this board, four battens are glued around each edge, and each of these battens is nailed to the hardwood frame. The four battens have mitred ends, but these do not make close joins at their corners. They are visible from the front of the painting where there is a significant gap between the hardboard support and surrounding frame, which is most noticeable along the top and bottom edges.

The hardboard was primed with a white layer, probably in oil and the paint applied directly over this. the paint appears to have been applied very quickly and is worked mostly with a wet-in-wet technique. There is a very thin varnish layer over the paint layers which has unified the gloss of the colours.

The painting is in excellent condition, with the paint showing no signs of cracking or discolouration. The only sign of deterioration has been a small amount of delamination in the hardboard panel at each of the corners, which is a typical ageing characteristic of this material. A small amount of adhesive was applied to the worst areas which should slow any further delamination. The frame provides good protection to the edges of the hardboard, and a backboard was added to the back of the frame as additional protection.

Tom Learner
October 1997