This painting is an mid 16th Century portrait by Hans Eworth. It is the property of a private collector.
The image below, showing the painting after cleaning, reveals the extent of loss of original paint. The areas of loss have been toned to provide a neutral base on which to reconstruct the painting.
The painting had been severely over-cleaned in the past. The areas of black were particularly sensitive and had been largely removed. The painting came to the studio to remove a thick layer of clumsy restoration. This had presumably been applied after the harsh cleaning. During this treatment, the true state of the painting became apparent. Subsequently a neutral tone layer was applied to the damages. Many institutions would have left the painting in this state given that the damage was so extensive. A full restoration would have resulted in a painting which was largely by the hand of a conservator. However, in this state the painting could not be properly enjoyed and would remain an academic piece. It was felt therefore, that in this case, a full restoration would be carried out. This was deemed ethically acceptable given that the face and the hands were largely in good condition and that no attempt would be made to disguise the extent of restoration under ultra-violet light (the restoration shows as black under this light) and that a careful record of the conservation would be made.
The images below show that the original paint remained in small islands of colour which allowed for a careful exercise to reconstruct the painting more akin to a ‘join the dots’ puzzle.
The image below shows the transformation of the painting after detailed extensive retouching and consultation with historical costume experts.