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H O W P A I N S T A K I N G
R E S T O R A T I O N H A S R E V E A L E D
T H E B E A U T Y O F A N
I M P O R T A N T P A I S L E Y A R T W O R K
By Jeremy Casson
H O W P A I N S T A K I N G
R E S T O R A T I O N H A S
R E V E A L E D T H E B E A U T Y
O F A N I M P O R T A N T
P A I S L E Y A R T W O R K
After over 220 hours of meticulous restoration work
on an important painting by William Barr, undertaken
by the specialist conservators Egan, Matthews &
Rose, new details in the work have been revealed.
The oil painting, first shown in 1911, features portraits
of the great and good of Paisley, and its restoration is
widely viewed as an important part of safeguarding
the record of the town’s history.
© Jeremy Casson
D E T E R I O R A T I O N
A N D D A M A G E
The painting’s condition deteriorated following its first
showing at the town YMCA, and the piece was
considered to be one of the most damaged artworks
in Renfrewshire’s collection. At some point in its
history the work had suffered water damage, and it
also manifested discolouration of its varnish coatings,
along with other issues caused by inadequate
previous storage conditions.
© Jeremy Casson
T H E
T R A N S F O R M A T I O N
Following the restoration the painting has been
transformed, with new colours, details and facial
expressions coming to light once more, having been
covered for decades by dirt, soot, and varnish. After
the work, the painting finally appeared as the artist
originally intended it to. As a result, this is likely to help
William Barr garner the artistic prominence he
deserves.
© Jeremy Casson
T H E R O L E O F
C O N S E RVA T O R S
For the specialists who worked on the painting and other
conservators like Jeremy Casson, the main focus of
conservatorship is to ensure an artwork’s stability and
preserve it in the best possible visual and structural
condition, to be enjoyed by future generations.
Speaking following the completion of the restoration work,
Henry Matthews, one of the conservators, spoke about
how satisfying it had been to secure the painting’s future
and reveal the true detail and colours of the work, along
with its charm and local characters. He went on to say that
he and his colleagues were delighted with the final result,
which was the culmination of complex aesthetic and
structural treatment.
© Jeremy Casson
A M O M E N T I N T I M E
The painting by William Barr depicts a group of figures
standing in front of the town hall, which is also
currently undergoing a complete restoration. Those
portrayed include civil servants, ministers, the town’s
social elite, industrialists and councillors; only four
women are featured (reflecting, perhaps, the
Edwardian era in which it was created), one of whom
went on to become the first female chair of Paisley’s
parish council in 1912.
The restoration work forms part of a £45 million
refurbishment of Paisley Museum, the biggest cultural
heritage project in Scotland to date.
© Jeremy Casson

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Jeremy Casson - How Painstaking Restoration Has Revealed the Beauty of an Important Paisley Artwork

  • 1. H O W P A I N S T A K I N G R E S T O R A T I O N H A S R E V E A L E D T H E B E A U T Y O F A N I M P O R T A N T P A I S L E Y A R T W O R K By Jeremy Casson
  • 2. H O W P A I N S T A K I N G R E S T O R A T I O N H A S R E V E A L E D T H E B E A U T Y O F A N I M P O R T A N T P A I S L E Y A R T W O R K After over 220 hours of meticulous restoration work on an important painting by William Barr, undertaken by the specialist conservators Egan, Matthews & Rose, new details in the work have been revealed. The oil painting, first shown in 1911, features portraits of the great and good of Paisley, and its restoration is widely viewed as an important part of safeguarding the record of the town’s history. © Jeremy Casson
  • 3. D E T E R I O R A T I O N A N D D A M A G E The painting’s condition deteriorated following its first showing at the town YMCA, and the piece was considered to be one of the most damaged artworks in Renfrewshire’s collection. At some point in its history the work had suffered water damage, and it also manifested discolouration of its varnish coatings, along with other issues caused by inadequate previous storage conditions. © Jeremy Casson
  • 4. T H E T R A N S F O R M A T I O N Following the restoration the painting has been transformed, with new colours, details and facial expressions coming to light once more, having been covered for decades by dirt, soot, and varnish. After the work, the painting finally appeared as the artist originally intended it to. As a result, this is likely to help William Barr garner the artistic prominence he deserves. © Jeremy Casson
  • 5. T H E R O L E O F C O N S E RVA T O R S For the specialists who worked on the painting and other conservators like Jeremy Casson, the main focus of conservatorship is to ensure an artwork’s stability and preserve it in the best possible visual and structural condition, to be enjoyed by future generations. Speaking following the completion of the restoration work, Henry Matthews, one of the conservators, spoke about how satisfying it had been to secure the painting’s future and reveal the true detail and colours of the work, along with its charm and local characters. He went on to say that he and his colleagues were delighted with the final result, which was the culmination of complex aesthetic and structural treatment. © Jeremy Casson
  • 6. A M O M E N T I N T I M E The painting by William Barr depicts a group of figures standing in front of the town hall, which is also currently undergoing a complete restoration. Those portrayed include civil servants, ministers, the town’s social elite, industrialists and councillors; only four women are featured (reflecting, perhaps, the Edwardian era in which it was created), one of whom went on to become the first female chair of Paisley’s parish council in 1912. The restoration work forms part of a £45 million refurbishment of Paisley Museum, the biggest cultural heritage project in Scotland to date. © Jeremy Casson