Portrait of Catherine Dickens is confirmed to be a genuine work by Maclise!


Catherine Dickens by Daniel Maclise

Image courtesy of the Hamilton Kerr Institute

We are delighted to announce that our much loved portrait of Catherine Dickens has been identified as a genuine Maclise  painting.

In May this year our collections intern (kindly funded by NADFAS), Denis Moiseev, undertook an extensive cataloguing of the Museum’s art collection. During this project some questions about the provenance of the Catherine Dickens portrait were raised, as the handling of paint appears surprisingly amateurish in places for an accomplished artist such as Maclise.

Further investigation revealed that the work has been heavily overpainted, with up to 70% of the surface not original. This amount of overpainting raised serious questions over the work, in spite of the fact that there are clear areas of the surface where the skilful application of paint can be seen.

In September, the whole of the painting was given an infrared scan and a single x-ray at the Hamilton Kerr Institute at the Fitzwilliam Museum in order to determine whether the original Maclise portrait lies beneath.

And it does!

The new scans and examinations were made possible by an Arts Council-funded, London Museum Development and Regional Collection Care grant.


Read the full press release

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