Technique and condition

The painting is in artists' oil colours and graphite pencil on a stretched commercially oil primed, linen canvas. The back of the canvas has been obliterated with white paint while it was on the stretcher.

There are three distinct layers of painting. The first layer is a dull pink application of brushmarked paint which apparently covers all the stretched face of the canvas and the tacking edges. Over this are the remnants of a painting which has been scraped down and coated with an unpigmented layer of painting medium or varnish before painting the final image in oil paint of relatively stiff consistency incised with pencil drawing. The canvas has been restretched during or after painting.

The red, umber and blue paints have developed fine, contraction cracks in the troughs of the brush marks which do not penetrate into the earlier layers. The overall condition of the painting is good with only a few minor surface blemishes. It is structurally fragile due to the weak adhesion between the paint layers which has led to some minor losses of paint from around the edges and the development of brittle cracks. Abraded areas of paint and distortions in the canvas are the result of Nicholson's reworking of the paint surface and the uneven contraction of the paint films as they aged.

The painting is not varnished and is in its original glazed frame, designed by Ben Nicholson and repainted to its original colour by Winifred Nicholson in c.1961 (c.f. inscriptions by W Nicholson on frame back). The grey, decorator's gloss paint applied by Winifred Nicholson covers a damaged layer of darker grey paint.

The painting was surface cleaned and the fitting in the frame improved on acquisition.