at home: Art in Context | The Conservation of an Orphaned Portrait: Paul van Somer’s "A Young Girl"

Jessica David, Senior Conservator of Paintings at the Center, discusses a work in the museum's collection.

at home: Art in Context

Art in Context, the Center's gallery talk series, is now online. Presented by faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and student guides, these lectures are held on the last Tuesday of each month during the academic year. Each talk focuses on a particular work of art in the Center's collections, or a special exhibition, and takes an in-depth look at its style, subject matter, technique, or time period. The last ten minutes are reserved for conversation and will allow for participants to ask questions.

About the program

Paul van Somer’s painting A Young Girl is currently undergoing conservation treatment at the Center. Orphaned from a set of related sitters and overpainted by past restorers, the portrait had lost both its historical context and the energetic signature paint-handling of its maker. Jessica David presented discoveries made during technical examination, ways in which the painting’s history have influenced its present condition, and plans for its future presentation.

David received her postgraduate diploma in the conservation of easel paintings from the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, in 2007. She was subsequently a Kress Conservation Fellow at the Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands until 2008, when she joined Yale. Her recent research has focused on the artistic practices, materials, and influence of immigrant painters in Britain.

Top image
Paul van Somer, A Young Girl (detail), ca. 1615, oil on panel, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

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