Battle of Hanau by Horace Vernet: rectifying unusual flood damage
Remedying the effects of climate change on a painting in an historic house
Increasingly heavy rainfall can overwhelm guttering in historic houses, as happened at Bowood House in Wiltshire, the home of the Lansdowne family.
During a storm, water ran down the back of this painting by Horace Vernet (1789-1863) of the Battle of Hanau. It rapidly saturated the lower part of the canvas, causing glues from sizing and lining to seep through the cracks to the front of the painting.
Swift action by the curator meant that any resulting canvas shrinkage and paint loss was minimal.
The resulting myriad of brown, translucent pearls of animal glue hardened as the canvas dried out, and had to be removed.
Destabilised by the saturation, the old canvas lining and glue were removed, a new lining applied, and the painting was cleaned and restored.