14 Dec Stout Trust Grant enables artwork restoration
A generous grant from a New Zealand trust will ensure the preservation of two artworks in Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery collection that are of international significance.
The works are collectively valued at well over a million dollars.
The Stout Trust grant of nearly $125,000 will go towards restoring the gallery’s largest work – The Flight into Egypt – painted in 1884 by English artist Frederick Goodall, and a large original frame of a pastel drawing The Fountain of Youth by another English artist Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones in 1892.
Curator of collections Jennifer Taylor Moore says restoration work will take up to two years to complete and could not have been undertaken without the grant money. The Stout Trust was set up with the proceeds of the J D Stout Charitable Estate to contribute to New Zealand’s cultural, environmental and scientific heritage. The timing of the grant means the paintings should be ready to hang in the re-developed Sarjeant Gallery complex on the original Pukenamu Queen’s Park site. The 97-year-old Sarjeant Gallery heritage building is currently unoccupied awaiting earthquake strengthening and restoration as part of a proposed redevelopment that includes construction of a new wing and storage facility.
Ms Taylor Moore says the 4 metre wide by 2.6 metre high The Flight into Egypt painting – which until recently hung in a rear stairwell in the historic gallery – is being transported to the Auckland Art Gallery’s conservation unit early next year for repairs.
“Due to its considerable size and weight the painting remained on permanent display at the Sarjeant Gallery for 96 years and is now in dire need of conservation treatment,” she says.
Ms Taylor Moore says the treatment will consolidate cracking and lifting paint over a third of the painting and fill any paint losses, vastly improving its appearance and condition. The repair work is expected to take the conservation team around three months to complete.
She says staff at the Auckland Art Gallery Conservation Unit are among the most experienced and highly qualified conservators in the country with considerable experience in treating large scale works like The Flight into Egypt.
The ornate frame is going to Manawatu for restoration by wood conservation specialist and managing director of Manawatu Museum Services Detlef Klein. The intricate task of restoring the frame to its former glory is expected to take up to two years. The work includes repairs to gilded decoration that is lifting off and restoration of gold leaf gilding. Ms Taylor Moore says the frame is unique in New Zealand and was designed specifically for the painting with Egyptian references and lotus flower designs.
The second artwork – The Fountain of Youth – a coloured pastel on paper by pre Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones was conserved in 2008 by the Auckland Art Gallery. But, Ms Taylor Moore says the painting could not be put back in its original frame due to the frame’s instability and the cost of restoration work. The frame will be worked on by Detlef Klein and will also take up to two years to complete.
For further information:
Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui
DD 06 349 3246
Chairman Sarjeant Gallery Trust
027 248 5987