Moore for your money
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This dramatic oil painting first came to our attention in 2006 and was bought at auction from Christie's of London on 16 May 2007.
What first attracted us to it - aside from the fact that it was previously unknown - was the detail shown of the Lime Kilns burning in the right foreground. No other image we know of actually shows the industry in action as this does. We're currently making improvements to the access to the kilns and felt it would be appropriate to buy the painting.
Sadly, huge nineteenth century oil paintings don't come cheap! But thanks to ticket sales from our raffle, we were able to raise the funds to buy it. This gives a nice footnote that our generous visitors enabled us to buy this painting - effectively buying it for us.
The raffle money also paid for a new lighting scheme - something that is particularly important with a painting where light and shade are so critical.
Perhaps more important was the conservation work, carried out by Jim Devenport, a Fine Art restorer based in Humshaugh in Northumberland. Jim removed the picture from its ornate frame and then set about cleaning the surface of the painting. He removed the varnish present along with previous retouched areas he found and replaced pieces of lost paint with a conservation 'filler' and new pigments. The painting was then given two coats of varnish.
The painting now hangs in the best place we could find, the west wall of the Entrance Hall while the curtains opposite are kept closed to shield the canvas from the glare of natural light. As with Jim's other work at the Castle, the before and after pictures are the proof of a successful job.