Rembrandt removal at Buckland Abbey

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Our Rembrandt painting at Buckland Abbey in Devon has been much admired and talked about since it was revealed to the world in March 2013 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.

Planned conservation work

It will now undergo conservation at the Paintings Conservation Studio at the University of Cambridge. As part of that process, it'll also undergo rigorous scientific testing including X-ray examination, analysis of pigments and dendrochronology. 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's hoped the conservation 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.


In the meantime however – rather than leave a blank space on the wall – we have a produced a photo artwork version, using, amongst other things – a photo collage of dozens of photographs of visitors, volunteers and staff at the Abbey, taken during the summer. This has been printed onto canvas and hung within an ornate frame.

The Rembrandt painting will return to Buckland Abbey in all its restored glory in 2014.