Humberside

Maritime paintings restored for Hull Maritime Museum

Art restoration

Thirty maritime paintings have been chosen for expert restoration in Hull.

The work forms part of the northern port's £27.4m bid to become a Maritime City.

Some 400 paintings from Hull Maritime Museum were assessed by experts to see which were historically and artistically most important, and which needed most work.

Among the chosen artworks is a large painting of the ship which took Charlie Chaplin to the US in 1910.

A portrait of a Hull dock master's wife has also been repaired and restored.

Image copyright Hull City Council
Image caption The tear on "The Dock Master's Wife", by an unknown artist, was repaired with conservation adhesive and a heated needle, using linen threads to bridge the gap. It was then cleaned to remove yellow varnish, revealing its true colours

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Five specialist art restorers from Critchlow & Kukkonen used tailored methods to remove decades worth of soot, tobacco smoke and yellowed varnish from each painting.

Image copyright Hull city council
Image caption "Hull Whaleship Diana Beset With Ice" (1868, unknown artist) before and after cleaning

Philippa Beesley, of Hull Maritime Museum, said it was difficult to choose just 30 works from 400, and said the restoration was a "huge investment" but would keep the artworks "in the best possible condition to tell their dramatic stories".

Image copyright Hull city council
Image caption Art restorer Pia Dowse used champagne chalk to patch missing paint on the front then cleaned the back of "Boxer Fleet, fishing smacks offloading to a steam cutter" (1881, artist unknown)

The works will eventually go on show again once the Maritime Museum opens after a major refurbishment in 2023.

Image caption Demineralised water and a cotton bud cleaned decades worth of dirt from "Two whalers, the Swan and Isabella in the Arctic" by John Ward, painted around 1830
Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Hull Maritime Museum, formerly the Dock Offices, is undergoing a major refurbishment as part of the Maritime City project

In Hull's City of Culture year in 2017, more than £27m was announced to renovate the port's maritime attractions, which include the the Arctic Corsair trawler, Spurn Lightship and the Maritime Museum.

Image copyright Hull City Council
Image caption The Arctic Corsair will also benefit from funding for the city's maritime history
Image caption The Maritime Museum's major refurbishment is expected to be finished by 2023

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