Technique and condition

Painted with artists' oil paints onto a 3mm thick 3-ply, plywood panel. This was primed by the artist with a thin, uneven layer of white gesso, which is visible in many areas of the painting.

The main shapes have been sketched in loosely over the ground with brushstrokes of thin dark paint. Many of these form part of the outlines or are visible beneath pale scumbles. Although there are not many major changes in composition, it is apparent in the complex surface that the figure has been reworked. Handling is very variable, in some areas the paint is broadly brushed in thin, transparent layers, and in other areas such as the flesh paint, thicker, impasted paint mixed with a little sand or grit has been built up using a palette knife. A few areas show evidence of scratching through wet paint, for example in the hair. The uneven and slightly yellowed resin varnish was applied by the artist sometime after painting and his signature then added in the top left corner.

The paint and ground are in good condition, but the plywood is badly warped and exhibits some splits. Prior to acquisition in 1989, the panel was consolidated and a substantial aluminium framework attached to the back in an attempt to prevent further warping. Since acquisition brown paper tape stuck over the paint at the edges has been removed, and the edges of the plywood sealed to help prevent delamination.