Through a varied restoration process, this portrait’s luminous young sitter and the ornate swept frame that encloses her, have been brought back to full, radiant life.
Albert George Stevens, born in 1863, was a founding member of the celebrated Staithes group, a colony of artists living and working in the small North Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes. Other such prominent members included Dame Laura Knight, whose influence can be seen in Stevens’ lustrous portrait. Stevens studied at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts and subsequently returned to Yorkshire, settling first at Barnard Castle in 1903, before moving to Whitby in 1906.
The portrait arrived at the gallery in need of a full clean, with a large tear by the sitter’s left eye and multiple scratches and scuffs that required the skilled attention of our restorer. After undergoing a deep clean the tear in the canvas was patched and the fine work of colour-matching and re-touching began, revealing the true vibrance of the sitter’s flaxen hair and embroidered white satin smock. The restoration of the antique frame proved an even greater task, as due to its poor condition, our restorer was required to build up the pieces of the frame that had fallen away with time, by moulding, attaching and colour-matching fragile plaster pieces to the original structure.
Owing to this extraordinary expertise, Albert George Stevens’ charming portrait now shines as if newly painted.