‘Cityscape’ by Salvator Rosa (C17th) from Stockport Heritage Services. Oil on canvas.
A heavy deposit of sooty surface dirt and a yellowed varnish layer prevent the true colours of this landscape painting from showing through. A knock to the front of the painting has torn the canvas support in the upper central area.
This photograph has been taken in raking light, whereby the light source glances across to emphasis the surface topography of the painting. Several distortions, including the large canvas tear are now visible.
After the painting had been cleaned, the paint and ground layer losses associated with the canvas tear were filled with a hand-made putty comprising an inert filler mixed with a synthetic binder. Once dry, the fillings were textured to imitate the appearance of the surrounding original paint.
The paint layer losses relating to the canvas tear have been retouched with dry pigments bound with a synthetic resin. This ensures that the retouchings are reversible and can be distinguished from the original oil paint.
This photograph shows the dirt, stains, inscriptions and canvas tear at the reverse of the painting. The wooden strainer is warped and has been causing damage to the painting.
The painting was removed from its strainer and the canvas was cleaned and treated with moisture and heat to correct the various distortions; the tears were repaired, and the painting was lined onto a fine synthetic interleaf and a linen canvas, all adhered with a synthetic heat-seal adhesive.