The restoration of fine art is a precise, aesthetic science. Demanding delicate craftsmanship, a disciplined technique and a creative, individualised approach to each new artwork, one could furthermore argue that the restoration of fine art is not only a science, but an art form in and of itself.
The restorer begins with an initial examination and assessment of the artwork in question before deciding his or her approach. For the best restorers, the foremost aim is to conserve the artwork wherever possible, using minimal interference to save that which can be salvaged. However, depending on the severity of the damage and the desired outcome, some cases will require restoration.
While conservation and restoration are indeed related, there are differences. Conservation places a strong emphasis on preserving the history and heritage of the artwork; it therefore tends to focus on stabilising a piece in its current state and preventing further damage, rather than necessarily trying to return it to its original condition. Restoration, on the other hand, often involves repairing or reviving a work with the goal of returning it to its original condition, or as close to such as possible.
Examples of various types of painting restoration include cleaning, removing discoloured varnish that has browned or yellowed over time, repairing rips and tears with patches or by relining, filling in and retouching, reapplying varnish and repairing insect damage. In best practice, any work that is carried should be entirely reversible, or at the very least, reversible wherever possible.
York Fine Arts is proud to provide the Yorkshire area with a restoration service that adheres to such best practice. With over 40 years of experience, the gallery’s fully accredited restorer specialises in the restoration of oil paintings, watercolours, prints and pastels. In his years of dedicated practice, he has undertaken work for churches, schools and local councils across the country and abroad, as well as for galleries in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hampshire. He has also completed a number of remedial restorations, salvaging fine art that has been improperly or inadequately restored. His work is completely reversible, ensuring fine art is not only restored, but furthermore conserved, for future generations.
For more information about the gallery’s restoration and conservation service, please contact our York gallery on 01904 634221 or our Harrogate gallery on 01423 561228.