Charles Lees’ painting restored and on display
Charles Lees’ ‘The Grand Match at Linlithgow Loch’ (1849) has now been beautifully restored and is on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.
The restoration was carried out following a successful fund raising campaign by the Scottish Curling Trust (formerly the RCCC Charitable Trust). On the 15th January 2014, the 96” x 60” oil on canvas was transferred from its storage depot in London to the National Galleries in Edinburgh where the painting underwent its restoration. All of this work would not have been possible without the generous support from members of The Royal Caledonian Curling Club.
The painting was purchased by the Committee of Management of The Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1898 and has been the property of the RCCC ever since. It is now on loan at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Undoubtedly Charles Lees’ greatest masterpiece, it has been described as one of the most important sporting paintings of the period and for curlers perhaps the most iconic image in the world.
“A valuable part of Scotland’s cultural and social history.” – National Portrait Gallery.
“One of the most important sporting paintings of its period.” – Sotheby’s.
The work on the painting involved specialist cleaning of the layers of dirt that had accumulated over the decades, removing old discoloured varnish, erasing previous touching-up that detracted from the visual impact, repairing small tears in the canvass, painstaking removal of the lining and re-mounting on a new lining canvass then reapplying a protective varnish.
The frame was also restored by replacing missing parts of the moulding, cleaning the surface, removing newer bronze paint and replace with gold leaf. The backing frame was also replaced to pull the frame into the correct shape and to prevent the miters from separating again (pictured left RCCC CEO, Bruce Crawford inspects the work in progress).
The painting is now on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh as part of the ‘Playing for Scotland: The Making of Modern Sport” exhibition, in Gallery 10 on the second floor. Admission is free and the gallery will be open daily from 10am to 5pm (7pm on Thursdays).
Thank you to everyone for their support. This important painting can now be enjoyed by future generations here in Scotland and the wider global curling community.
Click for more information about The Grand Match at Linlithgow Loch.