Picture restoration: "an archaeological problem"

Martin Wyld, chief restorer for the British National Gallery knows that restoring paintings is a difficult job. John McEwen of the London Times walks the galleries with the expert in a recent interview.

“There’s an assumption that pictures are virginal when they come to conservation departments,” says Wyld. “In fact a restorer is faced with an archaeological problem. Restoration usually means improving on the efforts of previous restorers. Most pictures have something done to them every 50 to 100 years.”