Technique and condition

The painting has been traditionally executed. The canvas has been commercially prepared and the paint has then been applied with a series of small and medium-sized brushes.

The layer structure for the painting is slightly confusing. A deep red and paste-like paint lies below the grey backgound paint suggesting some re-consideration of the composition. This is particularly evident in the top left and right corners of the work. The raking light photograph also shows underlying brushwork which does not relate to the present composition. The sitter has been executed in thin washes of paint, aspects of this then being fortified with impasted outlines. The sitter's face is deathly pale and the translucency of the aged man's skin is emphasised by the translucency of the paint used to describe it. Similarly the vulnerability and fragility of the sitter is emphasised by his proportionally tiny head. The sitter's hand grips the end of the walking stick as if it is his life-line.

The support of painting has been damaged at some stage and has been lined. During the lining process areas of impasto appear to have been flattened. There have been many episodes of loss to the paint film. Ultra violet light reveals areas of retouching particularly within the area of the sitter. More recent damages remain in need of repair.

Rachel Barker
June 2001