Two 1840’s Oil Portraits Restored

This husband and wife set of portraits from the 1840’s were brought to us by a couple from the Southport area. The paintings had an interesting history and were ready for a much needed restoration. They were in oval frames with glass on top which was unusual for an oil painting, but as we looked into the history a bit it seemed clear that someone had cut the paintings to oval shape and simply placed them in frames with glass. The paintings were seriously embedded with years of ash, probably from a wood stove. The ash is acidic and did some damage to the portraits but it could have been worse considering their age.

After testing the paintings, we did an intensive cleaning. We also needed to reline both paintings with new canvas to support them, as they were very thin and brittle. New oval stretchers needed to be made so we could actually stretch them properly. After stretching them, the paintings were then in-painted in the damaged areas.

Below are some photos we took along the way. It was one of the best restorations of the year for us, and we were very proud of the results. Our clients were very happy as well.

Enjoy the process in pictures below.

Partial cleaning showing the amount of dirt being removed.


Partial cleaning showing the amount of dirt being removed.


Closeup showing damage to the painting by acidic ash and dirt over the years.


The frames were painted over with gold painting and looked pretty bad, so we restored them and did a lacquer finish with a red undertone, and a gold inner lip.


New oval stretchers made with euro ply.


Paintings stretched on their new stretchers.


Closeup of frame restored.


Lisa in-painting portrait.


Closeup of portrait in-painted and restored.


Finished restoration.


Finished restoration.