The old layer of varnish and the retouches were easily removed from the painting. However, Aletta’s portrait proved to be less well preserved than that of Jacob’s. The paint layers of the background and her face were found to be very worn.
At the end of the treatment a final protective varnish was applied to seal the restorations and to give them a pleasing glossy finish.
The next step was to apply a new coat of varnish – known as an intermediate varnish layer – which should not only saturate the colours but act as a protective barrier between Hals’ work and that of the restorer allowing any additions to be removed without much effort in the future. Damaged areas on the painting were retouched on the intermediate varnish creating a once again complete image.