Technique and condition

The painting has been executed in oil paint on a baste-fibre 'Burlap'-type canvas. There appear to have been a number of alterations to the composition as can be clearly seen in raking light photographs. Alterations are particularly evident on the mid-right edge of the work, the lower left corner and possibly along the lower edge.

The painting is in fairly poor condition. A wooden strainer inadequately supports the painting. Tension is poor and this accounts for the undulations and strainer-bar deformation that has developed. There are also tears and punctures evident, one below the sitter's neck, one at the waist and one at the bottom left. These were most likely caused by blows from the reverse. The canvas is also extremely discoloured, brittle and weak (hence the tears and punctures), the weakness being a result of the increasing levels of acidity within the burlap fibre. The paint layer is quite thickly applied with localised areas of impasto. Despite re-working, the paint film is in a fair condition. Pressure from contact with the strainer member and possibly as a result of blows from the reverse there are areas of elevated cracking and cleavage to the paint and ground layers. Contraction of the paint has caused the edges of the cracked paint to open and now have quite wide apertures. The whole painting is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime.

Rachel Barker
June 2001