An historic painting which was the work of a respected Georgian artist has been returned to its rightful place at the Winchester Guildhall building following a full refurbishment.
The Thomas Stewardson piece, ‘The Children of the Thirteenth Marquess of Winchester’, has long been based at the Guildhall but needed to be temporarily removed in August 2013 in order for much-needed renovation work to be carried out by the experts at The Brick House fine art conservation studio.
Local residents and staff at the stunning Winchester Guildhall – which hosts numerous events including weddings and dramatic performances, as well as being home to the charming eighteen71 café, a favourite among those staying in nearby Hampshire holiday cottages – are rightly proud of the pristine condition of the building and its contents, so the decision to restore the painting to its former glory was warmly received.
A local masterpiece
Stewardson, who lived from 1781 until 1859, enjoyed an excellent reputation as a portraitist, painting the likes of King George III and Princess Caroline during his prestigious career. His painting which now once again hangs in Winchester Guildhall is thought to have been composed around the year 1812 and is a loving and ambitious representation of the city’s then Marquess, his wife Anne, and his seven children – William, George, Frederick, Annabella, Cecilia, Charles and John - as well as an unnamed dog.
With the painting’s restoration taking several months and involving the removal of yellowed varnish and dirt, the strengthening of its canvas and the replacing of much of its wooden frame, future visitors to the Guildhall can rest assured that every effort has been made to provide them with a visual feast that is an accurate reflection of how the piece looked originally.
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