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Case study

Cleaning Isack van Ostade's 'Village Fair'

Cleaning this painting revealed a surprising figure

In this film, we follow the work of our conservation team over a number of months as they treat a painting by Isack van Ostade.

During a full conservation treatment, the first time the painting had been worked on since 1903, a surprising discovery suggested that the painting had been altered at this time to avoid offending Edwardian sensibilities. 

The painting had discoloured varnish layers and old overpaints removed before being revarnished, retouched and prepared for display.

Learn more about the treatment here.


Swipe the image below to see the before and after of the conservation treatment. Can you spot the figure that has been revealed in a somewhat compromising position?

Collection object in this case study

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Isack van Ostade (Haarlem 1621-Haarlem 1649)
A Village Fair, with a Church behind Signed and dated 1643
    RCIN 407234

    The Royal Collection has two exceedingly fine examples of Isack van Ostade’s art: A village fair - acquired by George IV in 1810 - and Travellers outside an inn of 1647, which was once in the distinguished collection formed in Amsterdam by Jan Gildemeester. Both paintings have elaborate, intricately woven compositions with numerous figures...

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