Unframing a painting or a print can be quite an exciting moment as you never know quite what you may find inside. It’s the conservators first opportunity to get to know an object properly and there can often be something worthy of note inside such as old prints or documents used for padding which provide clues as to provenance, the artist or to dating the item.
So, I was recently very pleased to be able to inform the owner of an object that while unframing his painting, a second painting had been discovered inside, unsigned but almost certainly by the same artist and painted at about the same time.
The painting on the front of the double-sided watercolour board was once exhibited in an art exhibition and this suggests that the artist decided the painting on the other side was the better of the two. It also helps me to assess the extent of fading of the blue pigments, normally particularly susceptible to UV light, by providing a comparison which has remained protected all these years.