We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Conservation treatment of Margaret Coen’s ‘Flowers with peacock feathers’

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Follow paintings conservator Madeleine Ewing as she meticulously restores the sumptuous colour of Margaret Coen’s still-life painting Flowers with peacock feathers c1944.

Painted in oils, the artwork depicts a baroque still-life arrangement of brightly coloured flowers with a backdrop of peacock feathers and patterned wallpaper. Vibrant colours are richly layered in thick, impasto brushstrokes to produce a lavish overall composition.

When the painting was acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, it was covered in a heavily discoloured varnish layer. The main aim for conservation treatment was to remove the aged varnish and restore the artwork’s visual integrity, to make it ready for display.

Filmed on Gadigal Country.

The conservation treatment of Flowers with peacock feathers was generously supported by The Howarth Foundation.