At Upton House we are very fortunate to have one of his
paintings attributed to a close follower of van der Goes. The painting is entitled ‘The Emperor Augustus’
Vision of the Tiburtine Sybil’.
According to tradition, when Augustus consulted the Sibyl
(a woman endowed with the gift of prophecy) after the Roman Senate proclaimed
him a god, a vision of the Virgin standing on an altar with the infant Christ
appeared to him. The Emperor is shown without his crown as a sign of
adoration. This painting would have been the right wing of a triptych or
diptych, with a Madonna and Child in the centre or on the other wing.
The painting was acquired by Upton’s owner Lord Bearstead. During World War II was allowed to choose 41
of his 165 paintings to be taken into safe keeping alongside the collection
from the National Gallery. This painting
was one of those 41 and so this shows the importance that he placed upon it.
The picture has a history of flaking paint. Specialist
analysis shows that this is likely due to the composition of the blue and green
pigments used and the thickness of paint applied by the artist in some areas.
Recently the situation has got a lot worse and our conservator has had to apply
conservation paper, known as facing paper, to temporarily stabilise the worst
affected areas. This is just a short term fix and we need to have the whole
painting properly treated in her studio.
We need to raise £4,000 to pay for a full technical
analysis and to sensitively conserve the painting. This will involve
consolidating and re-attaching flaking paint and re-filling losses, to bring
the painting back to its original splendour.
Please help in any way you can.