Quinten Metsys (1465-1530) – Discovering a lost masterpiece.
In 2006 Kiffy and Hugo, together with Simon Watney (independent Art Historian) were called to the Holy Trinity Church, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, to advise on a painting that purported to be by Van Dyck. The painting was not by Van Dyck, but hanging next to it was a little jewel of a painting with a label on it attributing it to the Spanish painter Louis de Morales (1509-1586). Clearly this attribution was wrong and we undertook to find out exactly what it was …..
Café Royal Grill Room (c.1865-1928) – Reconstruction after the fire
As specialist contractors (paintings conservators and restorers) our involvement with the Café Royal redevelopment project was undertaken between 2009 and 2014 and included some 140 ceiling paintings in the Pompadour, Derby, Domino and Grill Rooms. However the 13 ceiling paintings of the Grill Room are perhaps of special interest because following a fire in 2010, which completely gutted this room, we found ourselves having to produce replicas instead of restoring the now destroyed originals. There were many specialists contractors involved in the meticulous and now much celebrated reconstruction of this room which was carried out under the careful guidance of the architects Donald Insall Associates. As luck would have it, we were further assisted with extensive reference material which we recorded during our initial Condition Audit and overall survey undertaken in 2009 ….
Master of the Holy Blood (active c.1530) – Discovering another fragment of a devotional panel
Following our discovery of the Metsys masterpiece, and by another stroke of complete chance, we recently discovered another rare surviving Flemish fragment-half of a once single devotional panel dating to about 20-25 years later. Datable to 1520, this painting was probably executed in Bruges and is associated with the unknown artist referred to as the Master of the Holy Blood. Our cleaning and restoration, and detailed technical study and research has revealed some important further insights into the complexity of attributions versus overlapping workshop styles and practices in Flanders at the turn of the 16th century …
William Brown (1789-1859) – The Louth Panorama
William Brown was a local house painter in Louth and between 1844 and 1856, in his spare time, he painted this rare panoramic view as seen from the top of the spire of St James’ church in the centre of the town. Like Turner strapping himself to a ship’s mast, Brown strapped himself to the tip of the spire in order to execute some extraordinary detailed sketches as preparation for this major work on two massive canvasses. Our cleaning and restoration, and background study and research (undertaken to assist a new display with didactic material) revealed some fascinating insights into an obsessive amateur artist working at a time of burgeoning civic pride and town growth …
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723-1792) – The First Marquess of Cholmondeley
Reynolds, with his assistants, painted many hundreds of portraits and despite his reputation for experimentation with composition and materials, in reality much of his formal portraiture displays repeated poses and motifs as well as his own established painting technique. Thus experimentation was not a relentless pursuit but rather it was confined to a select portion of his output. Nevertheless, between February and July 1780 George James, 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley (1749-1827) sat for twelve appointments with Reynolds, and our recent cleaning and restoration and technical study has revealed some surprises …