This Art Dealer Removes Varnish From A 200-Year-Old Painting And People Love It


A recent video of old dirty varnish being removed from a 200-year-old painting has quickly gone viral. Shared by BBC personality, art dealer, and historian Philip Mould, this restoration project is one for the books!

Similar to videos about power washers removing years of grime from patio decks, or paint being sprayed over an old car to transform it like new, this video features a similar, dazzling effect of renewal.

The incredibly old varnish that has been discolored and weathered over the years is stripped using a special solvent designed to react to the varnish only, leaving the magnificent oil painting unharmed.

Philip Mould shared this video on his Twitter profile, (@philipmould) showing how when the jelly-like solution is applied, the varnish seems to immediately wipe off like a muddy jeep through a car wash.

The transformation is actually almost unbelievable. You think a painting looks good at a museum until the damage of time has been removed, and the colors are almost as vibrant as they were 200 years ago. Notice how finely detailed the lace under the neck is after the brown varnish has been removed.

Twitter users, YarnGeek (@YarnGeek) and Julie of Themyscira (@SamuraiKnitter) had this exchange together, regarding the process of the restoration.

v3Twitter | @YarnGeek | @SamuraiKnitter

Philip Mould is a British art dealer, author, and BBC personality, credited with major discoveries in the art world including the only known portrait of Prince Arthur Tudor, some lost works of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, and a finder of some of Thomas Gainsborough’s early works of art. He has been featured in a number of art documentaries and was also an appraiser on the famous Antiques Roadshow program.


The name of the portrait is currently unavailable as restoration continues, but we do know that this is a painting from the Jacobean era (around the year 1567-1625), similar to this painting by an unknown British Painter during the Elizabethan era (1558-1603) that was painted around the year 1600, simply titled “Portrait of a Young Woman.”

The restoration process reminded Twitter user Helen Grieve (@grieve51166) about the botched restoration of the 19th-century fresco of Jesus, Ecce Homo, that was famously ruined by Cecilia Giménez, an elderly amateur restoration artist.

v6Twitter | @grieve51166

Twitter user billy (@oraltwjnk) had this analogy about how the painting reflected his personal use of make-up.

v7Twitter | @oraltwjnk

There’s no word on when the restoration will be finalized, but Philip Mould remarked on his Twitter page that he would post the final results once the piece is finished.

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