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Preserving paintings for future generations

Valence House preservation workTags Adults , Business , Children , Council , Family , Residents , Teenagers

Some of the borough’s most prized portraits have gone under the microscope to understand how the paintings were made and how they can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Every inch of all 74 pieces of art in the Fanshawe family collection were meticulously evaluated using the latest conservation techniques such as ultraviolet light to identify any damage or flaking paint.

The painstaking work was carried out by Sarah Cove, of the Constable Research Project, who identified most of the paintings, some of which date back to the 16th century, had undergone some form of restoration treatment in the past.

These portraits are part of our borough’s rich history and heritage and we’re pleased to be able to contribute to their preservation for future generations to enjoy

The last condition survey of the Fanshawe collection was undertaken in 2005. This latest review will be used to identify the paintings most in need of conservation.

The Fanshawes were a prominent local family who owned and lived in a number of manor houses in Barking and Dagenham, including Valence House, Jenkins, Parsloes, and Faulks.

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, said: “These portraits are part of our borough’s rich history and heritage and we’re pleased to be able to contribute to their preservation for future generations to enjoy.

“These portraits are just one of the fascinating collections on show at our museum. As we begin to open up from lockdown, I’d urge everyone to get out and enjoy some free activities and take advantage of some of the fascinating opportunities we have in Barking and Dagenham.” 

Ms Cove said: “I was delighted to be invited to examine this unique portrait collection. Considering the age of some of the works, the portraits are in remarkably good condition – a testament to the care and attention they have received throughout their existence.  

“It is an honour to now be part of their continued survival, ensuring they keep on telling the important story of Barking and Dagenham’s history.”

The most recently conserved portrait was that of Sarah, Viscountess Castleton by John Riley, which was completed in 2019 with funding from the Art Fund.

For more information visit the Valence House Museum website valencehousecollections.co.uk/.

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