Duncan GRANT
Still Life with Fruit

This painting by Duncan Grant belongs to an Oxford College where, in the past, students have been allowed to display the paintings belonging to the Junior Common Room in their rooms. It is a particularly fine collection of 20th Century British paintings chosen for the college by Sir Kenneth Clark. I was in charge of the care and conservation of the collection.

The painting had numerous punctures through the canvas where various objects had been put through the painting. It was thought that a door ‘might have’ gone through the painting in the bottom right corner.

Process
It was necessary to remove the dirt and varnish from the painting before attempting to deal with the various holes and rips. As the canvas was still strong enough to support Duncan Grant’s heavy application of paint I decided to re-weave the canvas with the original available threads and to add more threads where necessary. I levelled out the painting with a combination of warmth and moisture and the use of appropriate weights. The losses were then backed with nylon gossamer and linen patches, filled and retouched to hide the damages. I applied a protective coat of matt varnish.

I recommended that the painting should not be lent out to students again!

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