Conservation of The Cecil French Bequest

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Posted 13th March 2018

The Cecil French Bequest

The allocation of many of Cecil French's artworks to the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham was a grand gesture in support of smaller, local public collections.

However, the decision also meant that these pictures and drawings had nowhere permanent to go. Over the years, some of the more important works have been shown at Leighton House Museum and in 2008 there was an exhibition featuring most of the collection at Fulham Palace (which was accompanied by an excellent short catalogue, Beauty Never Fails, by the late John Christian, pre-eminent scholar of Burne-Jones).

In recent years the collection has been in store, and for the exhibition now on display at Watts Gallery all the works selected for display have needed conservation, which has been undertaken by our De Laszlo Conservation Fellow and Watts Gallery paintings conservator Sally Marriott, and - for the works on paper – conservator Joanna Payne.

The title of the exhibition draws attention to the wonderfully refreshed appearance of these paintings and drawings following the care they have received.

Find out more about the collection behind our latest exhibition A Pre-Raphaelite Collection Unveiled: The Cecil French Bequest open until 4 June.

Hear Sally discuss her work on the Cecil French Bequest on Wednesday 28 March in In Conversation: Sally Marriott and Alison Smith on The Cecil French Bequest: Saving the Past.