John Nash's 'The Cornfield' has been treated by Tate's conservators, ready for its display in Aftermath, open from today at Tate Britain.
The work has had its varnish removed, as it was discoloured and affecting the appearance of the painting's palette; the blue sky looked green; the soft purple earth looked brown; the tiny delicate highlights of the corn ears were dulled and lost (you can see the difference in the sky here from left to right). We know that John Nash, like his brother, did not varnish his paintings, so the decision was made to leave the painting unvarnished, as the artist would have finished it.
It is relatively unusual for a varnish to be removed and not replaced in Tate’s collection, and in this case a rare treat for the conservators to be able to return it to its true nature. The painting has regained its colouring, crispness & depth of field.
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