BAPCR Associate member of the
British Association of Paintings
The International Institute
for Conservation of Historic
and Artistic works.
of the BDMA
Restoration of the Reredos by Colin Gill (1892-1940)
The Seven Sorrows by Colin Gill (1892 - 1940)
St Mary's Church, Bourne Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8JJ
The following slides give an insight into the restoration of The Seven Sorrows by Colin Gill as observed by the conservators Jenny Duffy and Justin Hawkes – January / February 2009.
Observations from the conservators Jenny Duffy and Justin Hawkes
January / February 2009
Gill uses both his own geometric grid and free hand drawing beneath the paint layers. The geometric grid we see on the gesso is constructed in both harlequins and squares and the free hand drawing is fluid portraying lithe figures. He uses a great degree of transparency in the paint mix, which allows us to see through each layer, to the drawing beneath. The white gesso (the preparation ground the artist draws on) provides a glow through the transparent paint layers. This glow is particularly evident in the backgrounds and figures.
He is skilled at contrasting impasto (thick paint sometimes manipulated with a palate knife) with thin transparent painting. In the third sorrow “Jesus is Lost for Three Days.” We see Gill employ such skills. The building behind the figures has been painted using impasto referring us to aged plaster work and possibly puts us in mind of the buildings history (its repairs and damaged walls).
In “Our lady stands at the foot of the cross” we see Gill using thin and transparent paint behind Our Lady achieving an ethereal sky.
In the Pieta the painting departs from transparency as we witness Gill painting impasto throughout. This gives the figures a compelling presence.
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