Rembrandt restoration

A conservator dusts the Rembrandt self-portrait © Steve Haywood

A conservator dusts the Rembrandt self-portrait

Latest update 24.09.2013 15:01

We’re just a few weeks away from saying goodbye to our Rembrandt self-portrait, but only for a while.

The painting has been much admired and talked about over the last six months since it was revealed to the world as a painting by one of the most famous and innovative artists in history. However like many old paintings, time has taken its toll and layers of old varnish and trapped dirt render it a little bit on the dark side.

The planned restoration work

It will be undergoing full cleaning and restoration at one of the UK’s leading institutes. As part of that process, the painting will also undergo rigorous scientific testing including X-ray examination, analysis of pigments and dendrochronolgy. This is all part of the Rembrandt Project at Buckland Abbey, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

The painting's history

The world’s leading Rembrandt expert, Ernst van der Wetering, declared it a genuine work by Rembrandt in 2005 after seeing an X-ray image of the painting. However, until the painting was gifted to the Trust, he was unaware of its location. It was only after viewing the painting here at Buckland Abbey that he could state with certainty that his earlier claim was indeed true. It is hoped the restoration process will reveal more information about its origins and confirm beyond doubt that Buckland is now home to the only Rembrandt in the Trust’s ownership.

The painting will return to Buckland in all its restored glory in the spring of 2014. If you want to be witness to the before and after story, make your way to Buckland in the next couple of weeks.