Lord Methuen



Not on display

Lord Methuen 1886–1974
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 760 × 1015 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1997

Technique and condition

The painting was executed in oil paint on a reasonably heavy, open-weave hessian canvas, which is attached via steel tacks to an expandable stretcher. The canvas texture remains very evident on the front of the painting through the ground and paint layers. The reverse of the hessian has been covered with a protective coating, which was found by chemical analysis to contain predominantly chalk, held in a binder thought to be flour. This layer is rather severely cracked, but remains well adhered to the canvas.

The canvas was primed before stretching with a fairly thin layer of white oil priming.
After stretching, the first paint layer was a reasonably dark grey imprimatura layer applied directly over the whole surface. The paint layers above this are all vehicular and fairly rich in medium and have been applied exclusively with a brush. Many areas have been applied wet in wet, although a wet on dry technique is also used and there are some areas of reasonable impasto, e.g. in the white highlights of the clouds. In many areas no further paint applications were made and here the grey imprimatura layer shows through. Although there is no overall varnish, the sky had been covered with a resinous coating which has yellowed very slightly.

The signature in the bottom left hand corner is a second version. The lower part of the first is still visible beneath the green brushstroke that covers it and was slightly lower than the present one. The frame is possibly original and has been modified to improve the protection offered to the painting, primarily through the addition of glazing and a backboard.

The painting is in good condition, although the hessian canvas is significantly frayed at the edges and is rather prone to tearing.

Tom Learner
July 1997

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