Painting of Mary Clarke during conservation and cleaning process

Conservation of maritime paintings now complete

Work to conserve a collection of historic maritime paintings from the Hull Maritime Museum is now complete.

Following a survey of 400 paintings, the 13 selected works of art that depict a variety of maritime themes with important links to the city’s history were sent to the conservation studio of Lincoln University for essential conservation treatment.

The works included two very large oil paintings, Calm on the Humber (c.1868) by Henry Redmore, and HMS Britannia by John Ward (c.1847), that were on display in the main stairwell of the museum.

Specialist conservators at The Conservation Department at the University of Lincoln have spent more than 1,000 hours carefully conserving the paintings and their frames.

The treatment included surface cleaning, removal of layers of dust, dirt and discoloured varnish using conservation grade materials, the repairing of extensive tears, and the filling in and retouching of losses to the paint layers. 

Gillian Osgerby, Project Director for Hull City Council’s Hull Maritime, said: “These paintings were chosen as the most in need of some TLC, after decades of being on display or in storage.

“The conservation of these paintings has breathed new life into them, bringing them back to their former glory to shine for our visitors for years to come.”

Rhiannon Clarricoates, ACR, Senior Research Fellow at the School of History and Heritage, College of Arts at the University of Lincoln, said: “These 13 paintings cover a long period of Hull’s maritime history, from the 18th century through to the 20th century, and many of the artists were local, so they have a real sense of place. 

“By removing the dirt and old varnish, and repairing tears and losses, we were able to reveal the details and colours of the original paintings, so that sense of place can be appreciated by visitors now and in the future.”

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It is fantastic news that thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support the conservation of these amazing maritime paintings.

“This important work to preserve these paintings means that future generations, both locally and from further afield can learn more about Hull’s rich heritage as they go on display at the revamped Hull Maritime Museum.”

Since 2018, a total of 51 paintings have been conserved to ensure they are in the best possible condition for when they return to the refurbished museum.

The conserved paintings are currently in a state-of-the-art storage facility pending the completion of the refurbishment of the Hull Maritime Museum.

Hull Maritime is funded by Hull City Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will see changes at the Grade II* Maritime Museum, Dock Office Chambers, the North End Shipyard, and two historic vessels, Arctic Corsair and Spurn Lightship.