Tom Roberts - Fake or Fortune?

Joe Natoli, one of our regular clients, recently brought into the studio, a painting signed Tom Roberts, with the title : “Rejection” He asked our opinion of the work, and if it needed any work. The painting had been purchased in an auction in the UK and had obviously been recently restored, probably prior to being sold at the auction. We gave the work a light surface clean, and applied a varnish to balance the finish.

The painting went to London, to be examined by Philip Mould to see if it would suitable for an episode of “Fake or Fortune”, and has been widely reported in the media, including The Guardian (Lost for 136 years: ‘fake’ Tom Roberts painting bought for $7,000 could sell for $1m)

When the painting came back to Australia, it was brought to our studio again, by Joe, for complete restoration.  We cleaned the painting back to its original painted surface, and removed the overpainting done by the restorers in London. Some further cleaning was done to remove the varnish in the background, revealing much more detail in the background.

After cleaning, the work was varnished, with a gloss varnish, which showed all the fine detail of the painting, and where some judicious in-painting was required. 

Philip Bacon, who will be displaying the painting, asked if we could make a suitable frame for the work, so it could be displayed in the gallery. 

The frame was designed and made, in a traditional manner, in-house.

The painting is on display at the Philip Bacon Galleries.

About Us

RSM Art Conservation is the oldest private conservation service provider in Australia, having been founded in Sydney (New South Wales) in 1971.  At that time, the company consisted of two full time staff members, working on the conservation of a variety of objects and a range of projects. RSM Art Conservation relocated to Queensland in 1986, establishing dedicated conservation studios in Mapleton (on the Queensland Sunshine Coast) and in the Brisbane metropolitan area.

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Bowen Hills Studio
Phone: 61 7 3257 7884

2/100 Campbell Street,
Bowen Hills, QLD, 4006

(access Via Walden Lane)

Mapleton Studio
Phone: 61 7 5445 7298

PO Box 75,  College Road
Mapleton, 4560

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