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current work - Sir Leoline Jenkins (1623 - 1685), after a portrait by Herbert Tuer, painted before 1704

Owned by a school, founded by Sir Leoline, the portrait was initially thought to be a nineteenth centry copy.  The original by Herbert Tuer, 1679, is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.  The school discovered records indicating that the portrait had been given to the school, by his brother, Evan in 1704.

Sir Leoline had been Private Secretary to Charles I.  There are several other copies of the Herbert Tuer portrait in Jesus College, Oxford and as engravings.

Portrait of Sir Leoline Jenkins before treatment.

Virtually the whole of the painting was covered in a modern, probably acrylic overpaint, possibly applied by a sixth form pupil at the school which owns the painting.  In ultra-violet light and under the microscope, it could be seen that parts of the face were not overpainted and were of good quality. It was quite a surprise to find a copy made so closely to the original under the thick layers of overpaint.

Portrait of Sir Leoline Jenkins during surface dirt removal

Removal of the dusty surface dirt made quite a difference.

Portrait of Sir Leoline Jenkins during overpaint removal



Precise application of hydrocarbon solvent softened the overpaint allowing it to be carefully peeled away.

Detail of the top right hand corner during overpaint removal

Overpaint removal exposes underlying layers

Further Overpaint Removal

Not much detail is being revealed.  There is much filling material and streaks from an old degraded varnish.

Head Detail During Overpaint Removal

Some original hair is evident under the overpaint on the sitters forehead

After overpaint removal



Detail of head after overpaint removal

Original curls can be seen in the sitters hair.  Purple-grey fills appear to cover wide areas of original paint

Testing the second overpaint layer

Removing the modern synthetic overpaint, revealed a second overpaint layer covering cracks and losses in the original.  Tests determined if this layer could be removed.  This photo shows a detail of a test to remove this second overpaint layer on the lower right hand side

The two visible tones of beige, indicate a lighter original background colour with some variation in tone. 

Options include:

  • Removing this second layer of overpaint
  • Stopping at this point and toning down the purple grey filler

These options will be discussed with the owners to determine the final treatments