This painting is in oil paint on canvas measuring 781 x 635 mm. The thick, linen canvas is plain woven (figs.2 and 3). Cusping on all four edges indicates that we have close to the original dimensions, although the original tacking edges are no longer present.1 The original canvas has many old, mended tears and holes in it; it is reinforced with a glue composition double lining, which was probably applied in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The stretcher appears to be contemporary with the lining.
As in the companion portrait of the sitter’s wife, Cornelia Veth (Tate N01321), the ground consists of two layers followed by a priming (fig.4). The first coat, which was applied directly to the canvas, is bright opaque red; it is composed of red earth colour, chalk and red lake.2 This was covered over with a coat of opaque grey paint. The final priming coat is biscuit coloured.
Underdrawing is not apparent but there appears to be thin, sketchy dead colouring underneath the figure.3 The artist used bone black for the costume.