Contributions to the 6th AICCM Book, Paper & Photographic Materials Symposium. 17-19th November 2010, Melbourne. p54-57
When The Apocalypse of St John the Divine, by Australian artist Donald Friend (1915g1989) was brought to the Paper Conservation Department, National Gallery of Australia (NGA), it was a composite work on paper attached to three sheets of Masonite protected by a narrow timber frame. The irregularity of the paper sheets created exposed areas of secondary support around the edges, which had been painted blue. But why had it been painted blue and by whom? If Donald Friend had designed its presentation, the NGA, according to its policy, would have documented and retained the framing materials – but there was no such record. Also, while the NGA may possibly have exhibited it in this way it looked fairly unprofessional so it was thought worthwhile to research the work’s past with the hope of resolving the question. As Friend painted the Apocalypse 62 years ago the possibility of locating his contemporaries to discuss its history seemed remote. This paper discusses the conservation treatment and importance of investigating provenance.