Canaletto's vibrant colours have been revealed once more!


The Wallace Collection is delighted to report that the conservation treatment of our beloved views of the Doge Palace is well underway. As you can see from these photographs taken in the conservation studio, the old varnish has been removed.

Close examination of the paintings has revealed the use of gridded lines, made with a straightedge ruler by the artist as he created a realistic sense of perspective in the architecture.

The paintings were examined under normal, raking, and ultraviolet lights. X-radiography was also carried out.

Examination in ultraviolet light enables us to see later retouching.
Raking light enables conservators to obtain a good sense of the canvas texture. This photograph was taken prior to cleaning. A cleaning test is visible in the upper left corner. Just imagine what the entire, cleaned, painting will look like!

HKI conservators are now completing conservation treatment of the paintings. The paintings have been cleaned gently and the next step is to remove old retouching that has become discoloured with time. The paintings will be varnished to ensure that the paint surface is protected and saturated.

Due to the complexity of the project the paintings are now scheduled to return to the Wallace Collection in late January 2020. We are fortunate to have been able to rely fully upon the HKI’s wonderful resources for analyses and research and all look forward to welcoming the canvases back to London for a triumphant re-installation in our galleries.

Because final photography must await the completion of the conservation project, postcards will be ready in the new year. We realise that this means a long wait for those who have selected this reward but are confident that the work being diligently undertaken at the HKI is worth a bit more suspense!

Thank you for your support! Without your help the conservation and research into these paintings could not happen.

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