Conservation of a historic panel oil-painting coated with an ancient varnish layer

Document Type : research articles


Conservation Department, Faculty of Archaeology, Damietta University, Egypt


The present research addresses the study and removal an ancient varnish layer covering the case study painting from private properties, after investigation and analysis, as well as treatment of the entire object. The study is divided into three phases. Phase 1, using some non-invasive techniques such as the MA-XRF, MA-FTIR, X-ray radiography IR reflectography and UV radiation imaging, in addition to SEM-EDX, to analyse the case study, to identify the case study components and the deterioration phenomena. The results revealed a limewood support, with zincite, cerussite, red ochre, yellow ochre, cobalt blue, bone black and linseed oil in the ground and paint layers. Moreover, it was identified that the object was painted by the famous Egyptian painter Mahmoud Sa'id in the early 20th century. Its surface suffers from a thick layer of ancient varnish. Phase 2, the study conducted in-vitro experiments on a simulated painted model to assess the ideal technique for varnish removal. It was proven that the gel dispersion of PVAL, borax, ethanol, and water was the most efficient formula. Phase 3, Treatment of the object included varnish removal, chemical cleaning, inpainting, and consolidation.


Main Subjects

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