Restoration of oil paintings by specialists

Welcome! Life’s Essentials by MBGJ.ORG Limited, has joined together with local professionals to give you easy access to picture restorers, originally trained in London, but without charging London fees!

At Orchard House in Hamstreet Kent (Gateway to Romney Marsh) we offer a quality picture conservation and restoration service for Kent and Greater London.

Our Approach and a Brief Insight into Restoration.

Each painting will come to us with a different problem or ailment, and rather like patients in a hospital, each one will be assessed and treatment carefully considered.

It is important that you (the client) understand that all restoration we undertake is reversible (see further in the text).

Varnish: The varnish layer acts as a protective coat over the paint surface and absorbs any atmospheric pollution in the surrounding air, be it from coal fires or cigarette smoke. Also, most of the old varnishes used, naturally yellowed with age, so after many years, the painting would appear darker and the original brightness of the colours lost.
The wonderful thing about cleaning a painting, i.e. removing the old, discoloured varnish layers, is that, you reveal the colours underneath, as fresh as the day they were painted and seen as the artist originally intended!

Cleaning: Small cleaning tests will first be carried out under strict conditions, taking great care in assessing the stability of the picture surface and the strength of the cleaning agent to be used. Only the surface dirt and old discoloured varnish layers are removed in a slow and gradual cleaning process, without disturbing the original paint or oil glazes.
Previous restorations and residues of old varnish must also be removed.

Restoration: All subsequent restoration work will be carried out on a thinly applied layer of varnish, so that any work is totally reversible for future restorers, a key factor in fine art restoration.
The paint is then carefully applied to damaged or thin areas only, having first prepared and filled any holes. The ‘re-touching’ with new, carefully matched pigment is never applied on top of original paint!

Damage: Any holes or areas where paint is missing due to flaking or other causes, will be filled, dead-coloured, and then reconstructed using the same technique as the original. Sometimes this involves building up layers in fine, oil paint glazes, allowing each to dry before the next is applied.
We try wherever possible, to use traditional techniques, however, when it comes to the final varnishing, we always use modern, non-yellowing varieties. If a painting is seriously torn, right through the canvas, or indeed if the paint is very brittle with age and is showing signs of coming away from the ‘ground’ i.e. the layer underneath the paint, then we have to consider ‘Lining’.

Lining: This is a process whereby a newly stretched canvas is applied to the back of the original canvas. If a painting is torn, it’s not sufficient to merely apply a patch from behind, because after a short while, the shape of the patch will show through the front of the painting, in relief.
If a painting is flaking and beginning to deteriorate, then the glues used in re-lining will penetrate through from behind, re-consolidate the ground and paint layers and give the picture a new lease of life, ensuring it’s survival for future generations.
Our conservators use only the finest Belgian linen for this purpose. In the past, as well as using canvas as a support, oils were often painted on prepared wooden panels or copper supports.
We are able to treat these as well as oil paintings on canvas.

Oil glazes: Fine transparent layer of oil colour thinned down with linseed oil and usually applied over an already dried layer of thicker paint, building up the painting.

We do not restore watercolours, prints or any form of art on paper (Pls contact us we may be able to help).
We do not carry out picture valuations; this is a job for the fine art auctioneer.

Whether your painting is by an unknown hand, by a lesser known artist or indeed, by a Great Master, it will be treated with equal respect and professionalism.
Occasionally, a painting may not be worth a huge amount at auction, but is of enormous sentimental value to the owner, passed down as a family heirloom or merely a souvenir from a past holiday, either way, by taking your picture for treatment, you will enable future generations of your family, to enjoy a painting whose ageing process has now been slowed down, and will once again be seen in fine condition, as the artist intended!

However no firm undertaking of price or results can be given without a physical examination of the artwork concerned.

Please Note: Our restorers will come to your home to give an estimate, but should you decide against work going ahead, then we shall have to charge a standard fee of £25 for this. This amount increases with distance. Alternatively you (the client) can come to us, however, no charge will be made in this respect, but we request that you make an appointment. Also, we accept no liability for loss or damage howsoever caused to any painting whilst under our control, or in transit. Should you (the client) wish to cover the risks by insurance, such insurance must be covered by you (the client).