King’s pic­tures to be re­stored

Art: Univer­sity look­ing for ex­perts to spruce up paint­ings cre­ated for Charles II

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS - BY NICK HUMPHREYS

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

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