George Cruikshank

The Worship of Bacchus


Not on display

George Cruikshank 1792–1878
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2360 × 4060 mm
frame: 2815 × 4520 × 145 mm
Presented by R.E. Lofft and friends 1869

Technique and condition

The painting support is a plain weave linen canvas with closely woven fine threads. Stamps on the reverse of the canvas show that the support was ready prepared and stretched by the Colourman's Winsor & Newton. The canvas has a thick glue-size layer and a single priming layer of lead white and chalk bound in oil. There is a second thin priming layer, probably applied by the artist. It is a very pale pink colour, consisting of lead white, chalk and a small amount of vermillion.

The technique for the painting is very straight forward. The images were initially drawn in pencil on the priming, which remains visible where the paint is thin. Over this there is a thin under- painting mainly in brown and and yellow-brown washes of oil paint. On top of this the images have been more clearly defined in thicker paint and colours that have brush markings in many places. The pigments identified are lead white, chrome yellow, vermillion, cobalt blue, Mars brown and reddish Mars brown. Impastoed highlights of white or tinted white have been generally applied with vigorous squiggles, dabs and blobs and are a distictive feature adding liveliness to the paint and composition.

During major conservation treatment (1999-2001) the support was repaired, strip-lined and loose lined and the original stretcher replaced with a new aluminium stretcher. A considerable layer of dirt and a discloured varnish layer was removed and the painting was revarnished with a synthetic varnish. Damages and losses were also repaired. Finally a frame was designed and made.

Christopher Holden
July 1999

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