From the battlefield to the home front: Conservation secrets revealed

George W. (Washington) Lambert was commissioned by the Australian Government and concentrated on set-piece battlefield paintings in Palestine & Turkey. Conservation on one of these works, Walk (An incident at Romani) 1919-22 has involved examination and removal of a discoloured dirt and grime layer from the picture surface. Lambert served as an Official World War One artist…

Watch as we clean Anthony Alder’s ‘Heron’s home’

Watch our time-lapse as Anthony Alder’s original colours are restored in Heron’s home 1895 showing the full tonal range and sharpness of colour. A final varnish layer on a finished painting has been an artistic practice for centuries. Artists often apply a transparent varnish to give saturation and their desired level of gloss to the painting,…

The materials of Ian Fairweather

The image of the artist working in his Bribie Island hut was taken late in Ian Fairweather’s career. Due to ill health he had virtually stopped painting by 1972. This image (illustrated), plus images taken in the 1960s show the artist working with many open tins of commercially made house paints. Paintings were either worked…

Cleaning Ian Fairweather’s ‘Head’

The cleaning of paintings such as Ian Fairweather’s Head c.1955 (illustrated) is a fascinating subject. Changes in approaches to conservation practice mean that cleaning now often involves varnish removal. Traditional conservation practice commonly involves removing an old discoloured varnish from a paint layer and the changes are often visually dramatic. Natural resin varnishes such as…

Secrets under Damask

A recent restoration was undertaken over four weeks to a parlour setting from c.1880 – 90s in the Gallery’s Collection, comprising a settee, two grandfather chairs and a grandmother chair. The setting is significant because it was constructed in Queensland from Silky ash (Ehretia acuminata), a native deciduous tree. My role as Conservation Framer is…