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Support the restoration of Stockdale Cope’s Naval Officers of World War I

Naval Officers of World War I by Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope, 1921 As seen here, large areas of the painting have a dull and hazy appearance which is a common sign of oil paint degradation. The appearance of the painting will be greatly improved by surface cleaning. The canvas needs to be re-stretched and strip-lined to strengthen the tacking edges which, as seen here, have perished in places. This treatment will allow the large canvas to be re-aligned and re-tensioned . This is a large old tear which has been mended poorly, the join being overlapped in places and badly secured. The tear needs re-aligning, re-weaving and securing with modern materials.

We have reached our £20,000 target to repair this artwork.

The Gallery’s display in 2014 returned this important painting to public view for the first time in many decades to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

Naval Officers of World War I had not been seen for several decades because its poor condition made it unfit for display. Over the years the canvas had slackened, there was damage to the paint surface and the entire surface needed cleaning. The original gilded frame also required restoration. Conservation of the painting and frame was time-consuming and costly, but without this essential treatment one of the Gallery’s grandest group portraits would have remained hidden from view.

Naval Officers of World War I by Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope is one of three large group portraits commissioned by the South African financier Sir Abraham (‘Abe’) Bailey in the aftermath of the Great War.

To view and download a key of sitters in the portrait please click here.

Artist Rachel Hemming Bray was documenting the work of Bush & Berry in their Bristol studio whilst they conserved the portrait. For a selection of her images and insights into the picture please click the link available on this page here. 

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