Pastor Livingston, I presume

This painting depicts John Henry Livingston, an American minister and fourth President of Queen’s College (now Rutgers University). Mr Livingston passed away in 1825, and judging by the materials used, this painting dates from that time. Currently, the wood panel is unstable and there are areas of loss in the paint film as well as considerable amounts of dirt particulates across the surface. The painting and its frame will be restored, and a cradle added to accommodate the painting within the frame.

Cleaning efforts have begun, and besides uncovering a heavy amount of contaminants, more surface damage has been discovered.

Along with being a pastor and a professor, Mr. Livingston also authored a few non-fiction books, and we like to think that possibly this portrait was staged with one of those works. Stay tuned for more…

John Henry Livingston was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on May 30, 1746. He graduated from Yale and went on to study law, but abandoned it for the ministry. He graduated from the University of Utrecht, Holland, in 1767, and with the degree of D.D. in 1770 was invited to take charge of one of the Reformed Dutch churches in New York, and was ordained by the classis of Amsterdam on June 5, 1769.

Upon his return to New York City in September, 1769, he was made pastor of the Fulton Street Reformed Dutch church, and was instrumental in settling the dispute in the church between the Coetus and Conferentic parties. In 1784 he was appointed professor of theology for the church and later became president of Queen’s college, New Brunswick, N.J., and a professor of theology from 1807-25. He married Sarah, daughter of Philip and Christiana (Ten Broeck) Livingston.

His publications include: Funeral Service; or Meditations Adapted to Funeral Addresses (1812); and A Dissertation on the Marriage of a Man with his Sister-in-Law (1816).

He died in New Brunswick, NJ on Jan. 20, 1825.

In view of Dr. Livingston’s great efforts and achievements in the areas of theological education, church constitution, liturgy, psalms, missionary endeavor, and the unity of the church, as well as his great patriotism, he is still called “Father of the Dutch Reformed Church” in America.

Tree at Water’s Edge

This painting suffered from several tears and flood damage that held left the paint film dry, brittle, and vulnerable to further damage. Dirt particulates had also spread across the surface. For the frame, the flood damage had detached some of the decorative ornamentation.

The tears were sutured from the reverse and then in-filled and in-painted on the front to conceal them. Also on the reverse, new conservation linen was adhered to increase the foundational strength. Hydration was spot-treated to return pliability and health to the paint film. Careful cleaning lifted the dirt particulates and had a pleasing affect on the color tones, and conversation varnish was used at the end.

For the frame, the loose ornamentation was reattached with a restorer’s adhesive, and careful cleaning removed the dirt particulates.

Castle Over Mosel River by Frederick Trapp

This painting by Frederick Trapp suffered from an old and yellowed varnish with dirt particulates across the surface. The linen and paint film were dry, and the frame had lost some ornamentation and had become compromised at the joinery.

After careful cleaning and removal of the old varnish, the painting was relined onto new archival linen. This gave a substantial improvement to its structural integrity. New conservation varnish finished the restoration. The corners of the frame were re-joined and the small areas of ornamentation-loss were recreated. A lacquer application was used to match the color tones.

Encyclopedia Britannica: The Mosel river is a west-bank tributary of the Rhine River, flowing for 339 miles (545 km) across northeastern France and western Germany. Rising on the forested slopes of the Vosges massif, the river meanders past Épinal, Pont-Saint-Vincent, Toul, Frouard, Metz, and Thionville before leaving France to form the frontier between Germany and Luxembourg for a short distance. The river enters Germany and flows past Trier to its confluence with the Rhine at Koblenz. In this sector of the valley (German: Moseltal) are the vineyards from which the famous Moselle wines are produced. The Moselle River’s chief tributaries are the Madon, Orne, and Sauer (French: Sûre) on the west and the Meurthe, Seille, and Saar (French: Sarre) on the east. Above Metz the Moselle has been navigable to 300-ton barges since the 19th century. It connects at Toul and Frouard with the Rhine-Marne Canal. From Metz to Thionville the river has been navigable by 300-ton barges since 1932; below Thionville it was not navigable until the inauguration in 1964 of the Moselle Canal from Metz to Koblenz, built to take barges up to 1,500 tons. The canal is administered by a tripartite authority representing France, Germany, and Luxembourg. There are several iron and steel plants and power stations along the waterway.

Pastoral Landscape with Sheep and River by Edwin Cole

This pastoral landscape by Edwin Cole (1868-c.1935) suffered from a dry linen that had led to paint loss in one area, as well as dirt particulates across the surface. The original frame in a Louis XV  style, had suffered structural and ornamental losses.

New linen improved the foundational strength of the painting, and in-fill and in-painting concealed the area of loss. Deep and careful cleaning had a dramatic effect on the colors, enriching them back to their original shades. The frame was cleaned, backed-up, and re-fortified to return its structural stability. The degradation of the ornamentation was left as is, per the customer’s bidding.

Edwin Cole was born in Shrewsbury in 1868, the son of artists T.W. Cole and Mary Elizabeth Lewis. Be is best known for landscapes and Shropshire scenes. He began his career as an heraldic artist and painter of church windows, but then became Shrewsbury’s most successful painter. Several works of his are in the National Collection, including Untitled Landscape (Shrewsbury Museum), Lloyd’s Mansion (Shrewsbury Museum) and Abbey Church from West, 1886 (Shrewsbury Museum).