Technique and condition

The painting was executed in oil paint on the reverse side of another painting, which itself was applied to a single piece of commercially-primed, medium-weight cotton canvas. The canvas is attached to an expandable stretcher. The tacking holes which would have been used for the previous painting are clearly visible along the tacking edges and most have discoloured slightly due to rusting of the tacks.

There does not appear to be any unpigmented size layer applied to the unprimed side of the cotton duck before the oil paint was laid down. The first layer of paint was a very dry, thin and probably very diluted white one applied over most of the surface. This might therefore constitute as a ground layer although it does not reach the edges of the canvas. The subsequent applications were with a far more vehicular paint, which now display noticable brushstrokes. Most areas appear rather dry and there are some which hold fairly high impasto. The palette is extremely limited with much use of white (probably titanium white).

There are a few thin and rather feint green, yellow and black curved lines over the outer striped parts of the painting, which do not seem to hold any relationship with the painted image. These were applied fairly soon after the initial white layer but before most of the thicker paint layers and are therefore an original part of the work. There is no varnish layer.

The painting is in excellent condition, with no sign or record of any previous treatment. It is unknown whether the painting on the backside is also by the artist. However, the current frame has been modified to hold a perspex backboard, so that this second highly-coloured image can be seen even when the painting is framed. It is not known whether the current frame is original to the work.

Tom Learner
July 1997