Christ and the Woman of Samaria

16th century, after Bonifazio de’ Pitati

Oil on canvas with a very early lining onto a second canvas

Client: National Trust, Attingham Park

One of several paintings treated at Attingham Park, this 16th century Italian painting of Christ and the Woman of Samaria had been heavily restored several times in the past, the surface being covered with layers of discoloured retouching and overpaint, and non-original darkened varnish layers. The painting was visually compromised by these restorations and the overpaint was beginning to crack and flake, lifting original paint layers with it. Where possible, non-original overpaint and varnish layers were removed and unstable paint was consolidated. Original paint, particularly in the sky, had been damaged by past over-cleaning and residues of insoluble discoloured oil films from varnishes and overpaint – the retouching needed to be carried out sensitively in such a way as to restore some of the original appearance of the damaged areas without overpainting them. A very early lining canvas was kept as this was not causing any instability to the painting and was an interesting part of its history.

Before treatmentPhoto credit: National Trust
During removal of varnish and overpaint layersPhoto credit: National Trust
After treatmentPhoto credit: National Trust