Technique and condition
The stretched pieces of canvas were first prepared with a layer of animal glue, which extends around most of the tacking edges, followed by the application of an even layer of a grey oil ground, which falls slightly short of the animal glue size. Although none of the layers have been analysed, an inscription of the back of the central canvas reads 'glue size, lead ground, oil'. The ground therefore probably consists of lead white and a black pigment dispersed in oil. Interestingly the ground of the central painting is a much lighter grey to that of the outer paintings.
Once the ground had dried the paint layers were applied. This was done using fairly wide brushes, in several superimposed layers so that the overall thickness of the paint is high and the canvas texture is completely obscured. The paint is generally of high gloss and opaque, so the colours tend not to be affected by those beneath them, although the deep green does appear slightly transparent. At the borders of each stripe it is possible to make out most of the underlayers, and even the grey ground in certain places. The paint was applied with a combination of wet-on-dry and wet-in-wet techniques and has left strongly directional brush-marking in the paint. This is usually parallel to the direction of the stripes, apart from the vertical red and green stripes, where there is also evidence of some horizontal brush marking presumably from an under layer.
None of the paintings have been varnished and the work is not framed. The back of the central canvas is signed 'Scully 87' with a lean black material. The piece is in an excellent condition with no signs of any deterioration in the paint films and the rigid strainers are still providing sound support.