Conserving the Collection

Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses-Oh! Frederick Morgan (1856-1927) 

This oil painting was displayed in the art gallery at Towneley Hall in the autumn and winter exhibition of 1913 and offered for sale by Lupton Brothers (booksellers/stationers) of Burnley. Bought by the Corporation the following year for £75, the painting has been enjoyed by visitors ever since. Morgan’s painted scenes of children are of idyll, play and sunshine. They are safe, innocent and happy and the nursey rhyme, though considered by some to have a darker reference, remains with us today. 

All paintings in the art gallery have a conservation assessment which are acted on when funds allow. Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses was in good condition apart from surface dirt and discoloured varnish and we were able to pay for the cleaning work from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund in 2021. The colours on the clothing and faces are brought to life and transformed by Phillip Bourne a specialist conservator at the Lancashire Conservation Studio by working methodically across the painting. 

Phillip has cleaned the surface layer of varnish on the painting as this often becomes yellowed over time due to natural changes in its chemical makeup. We now have the chance to see the artists brush strokes and techniques in more detail. 

You can see a shorter version of the film with subtitles here on our Youtube channel.