Crowning glory for Queen Victoria’s portrait revamp at Cliffe Castle

Keighley News: Cliffe Castle Museum assistant Andy Moore with the newly-restored painting of Queen Victoria, with the crown once again adorning its frame Cliffe Castle Museum assistant Andy Moore with the newly-restored painting of Queen Victoria, with the crown once again adorning its frame

An elaborate frame surrounding a portrait of Queen Victoria at Cliffe Castle has had its gilded, carved crown re-made and restored.

The crown’s restoration concludes a 20-year project to locate the portrait and display it at the museum.

The painting – now in Cliffe Castle’s breakfast room – was originally bought for the castle in the 1880s, but was thought to have been lost when the contents were sold in the 1940s.

Museum manager Daru Rooke explained: “Miraculously, a member of our staff spotted the painting in a Nottingham antiques centre.

“Unfortunately, several decades in storage had caused a good deal of damage to the frame. The greatest loss was the 50cm-wide gilded carving of St Edward’s crown, which originally completed the frame. This was broken off during a move in the 1980s.”

He added: “Early photos of the painting showed the crown intact. Using digital imaging to scan the photos, Cliffe Castle staff calculated the crown’s size and detailing.

“York conservation carver Graham Gamble worked the crown up into a cardboard model, and after amendments, this was carved in limewood.

“The crown was then handed to Keighley-based gilder Pam Keeton, who put back the burnished gold finish of the original. The crown is now back on the top of the frame, adding an extra layer to the story of this fabulous work of art.”

Funding for the conservation was paid for by the Friends of Cliffe Castle.

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