Since our last post about this painting we have learned the identity of the ship, the Bluenose, as well as the ship in the distance that it’s racing, the Gertrude L. Thebaud. In 1938, W.R. MacAskill actually recorded some of this footage, which the Nova Scotia Archives was kind enough to upload. You can watch it here, runtime is about 5 minutes.
Shellac had originally been used as a varnish for this painting. Over time shellac will become brittle, turn yellow, and attract dirt. A 4-stage cleaning effort was carried out to remove the shellac, clean the painting, and then finally apply a coat of conservation varnish. The original frame was in good condition, and it paired well with the painting so it was kept and touched-up in some of its problems areas, mostly the edges, where we redid the gesso and gilding, and married it to the original.