Technique and condition

The painting was carried out in oil colours on a cotton duck canvas, which was probably primed and stretched by the artist himself. A very thin, lean ground layer, off-white in colour, was applied evenly over the whole surface, extending to the edges of the fabric.The canvas was then attached to a stretcher and a second white oil-bound ground layer was applied, leaving local accumulations round the edges of the painting.

The artist then proceeded to paint quickly and spontaneously, probably without initial drawing. Before painting, Trevelyan would make several pencil scribbles of something he had seen in a sketch book, which suddenly provoked the idea for a painting. In the course of the painting process, which usually took one or two days, the artist applied several layers of paint. He used strong, bright colours which he applied invarying consistencies from thin and liquid, to thick and more paste-like. He varied the use of high gloss with less gloss or even lean paint. In many areas he painted wet-in-wet. Other areas he reworked and there are pentimenti to be seen showing through the upper paint layer in several places. Finally the painter added details and scratched lines of the composition into the wet paint with a sharp pencil. In many places lumps can be seen included in the surface of the paint, which probably consist of dried paint from the palette and contribute to the painting's characteristic surface texture. Generally the paint layer is relatively thick and opaque, covering the whole image without leaving areas of ground unpainted. In many places pronounced brushstrokes of paint are visible, which indicates that the paint medium used by the artist dried fairly quickly. This fact and the presence of extremely glossy and severely wrinkled paint suggest that a kind of commercial housepaint may have been used, possibly combined with artists' oil paint.

The painting is not varnished. It was acquired without a display frame and in poor condition. The painting was unstretched and had been extensively creased and cracked as a result of long term unstretched storage. The support was in relatively sound condition. There were several areas of cleavage but only minor paint losses. The surface was very dirty. Treatment carried out consisted of consolidation of flaking paint and the correction of deformations in the support and paint film. The painting was reattached to an accessory support (blind stretcher). It was surface cleaned and losses were filled and retouched.

Monika Roth
July 1996