Facelifts & Make-overs - stories from our conservation studio
The conservation treatment of this portrait of William of Orange was a complex task and took a long time as a result. The left-hand plank of the panel had become damaged at some point, possibly by woodworm. That is why this section had been replaced with another piece of wood, to the left of the prince’s face. Luckily, his face was well preserved, despite the sizeable crack that ran through it from top to bottom. The greatest challenge during the treatment process was the new strip of wood. There was nothing left to see, as almost all the paint had disappeared. Conservator Carol Pottasch had to completely reconstruct the prince’s shoulder and clothing in this empty area. As a guide, she used two other, similar portraits that Key had made of the prince. In this example, ‘makeover’ is definitely the right word.