King’s pictures to be restored
Art: University looking for experts to spruce up paintings created for Charles II
Important historic paintings created for Charles II are to be restored to their former glory before going on display.
Aberdeen University is looking for a contractor to work on the set of five “black paintings”, which date back to 1650.
University researchers Dr John Morrison and Dr Mary Pryor have been looking into the anonymous works, and discovered that it was most likely that they were created for the visit of the king. He had been brought to Scotland under the “protection” of the Covenanters to reclaim the throne. The pictures show how reneging on a pact with God would have dire consequences, but that faithfulness would be rewarded.
Neil Curtis, head of museums at Aberdeen University, said: “They would have been painted to be hung in the House of Gowrie in Perth. Charles II’s father had been executed the year before and he was being taught to be a monarch.
“The paintings remained at the House of Gowrie until it was knocked down in the mid-19th century. Then they were brought to the university.”
The works originally hung in the college hall but were surrounded by candles, fires and people smoking, making them grubby enough to earn the name the “black paintings”.
As well as being cleaned, some of them will be repaired and put on to a new canvas before being hung once more – potentially in the university’s £57million library.
Mr Curtis added: “They’re called the black paintings because they’re that dirty. We should probably call them the king’s paintings.
“The paintings need to be cleaned. Some have been damaged so need to be carefully repaired. And they need to be realigned on to new canvas and revarnished with a modern type that can be removed.”
BLACK PAINTINGS: The works, from left, David and Abigail, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and David and Goliath have been darkened through exposure to smoke