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TATE CLEANS “THE PENANCE OF JANE SHORE”

When the Tate Gallery cleaned its version of “The Penance of Jane Shore” recently, an old question about the picture was answered, and a new fact discovered. According to Martin Butlin of the Tate, the Jane Shore picture “was hitherto known as a varnished watercolor and there has been some debate as to whether the varnish was added by Blake himself, but in fact the varnish proved to have been applied in the mid-nineteenth century and cleaned off without difficulty. Underneath there is, however, a thin application of size which may well be Blake’s own, added to enrich the tones of the watercolor beneath, as was common among other artists of the period. The original freshness of color can now be seen and the appearance of the watercolor has also been improved by re-framing.”

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