This little fox painting by C. F. Deiker painted in 1862 has just come back from being cleaned by my trusted conservator.
After being removed by from his parents house, John and Michelle decided to have this painting cleaned before hanging it in their home. John’s Dad was a heavy cigar smoker and the nicotine has colored the varnish over the years that added a yellowish haze over the entire painting.
Overall, this little fox was in great condition considering somewhere in it’s history someone decide to reline the entire canvas and did a great job doing it. The lining covered a small hole in the canvas, but with the relining, that canvas itself is in great shape. So all that was needed was to remove the old varnish and re-varnish it.
We kept the original frame and lined the rabbet of the frame with Aluminum Barrier Tape to protect the edges of the newly cleaned canvas as it sat in the frame. The last step was to add a Tyvek backing paper to keep critters and dust out and we are ready to hang in John and Michelle’s home.
Simple painting cleanings like this take 2 to 4 months depending on what our conservator has in the pipeline. A new varnish can last anywhere from 75 to 100 years and I think is worth the investment in the life of the painting. The varnish is the only thing protecting your painting from dirt in the air such as nicotine and from UV damage.