A number of historic maritime paintings from the Hull Maritime Museum’s collection, which were conserved early last year, are returning to the city.
Last year, 35 paintings were identified and prioritised by those most in need of conservation. Work to treat the paintings was carried out early last year. The final 23 paintings have returned to the Maritime Museum and will, along with the other collections, be placed into storage until it reopens in late 2023.
The delicate work has been undertaken by conservation and restoration conservators Critchlow and Kukkonen Ltd, who specialise in the conservation and restoration of easel paintings from all periods.
The paintings were selected from a collection of 400 prints, canvases and paintings. Extensive treatment involved the removal of old varnish, surface cleaning, varnish removal, retouching, consolidation of flaking paint and repairs to canvas tears.
Included in the conservation is a large oil painting of the Wilson Line ship SS Consuelo, which carried Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel on board to the USA in 1910 as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe.
Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration, said: “The conservation work has been undertaken thanks to the Hull: Yorkshire Maritime City project.
“It is critical that the paintings in our care receive this TLC and ensure they are in the best possible condition, not just for the present, but for the future too.
“It is now possible for us to display the paintings and tell the stories, which for some, are being told for the first very time.”
Eeva Kukkonen, from Critchlow & Kukkonen Ltd, said: “It has been a great experience to be part of the Hull: Yorkshire Maritime City Project. We have found it exciting to be able to give many of the paintings a new lease of life.
“Removing decades of surface dirt, discoloured varnish layers and old restorations, as well as repairing tears and retouching old paint losses has helped to return these paintings to the vibrant scenes they once were.”
The conservation work has been undertaken thanks to the Hull: Yorkshire Maritime City project, funded by Hull City Council and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
Find more information on the conservation of objects within the museum’s collection and the wider project here.