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Illiam Dhone painting to go to the UK for specialist study

Tue, 07 Nov 2023

Three hundred and sixty years after his execution, an iconic painting of Illiam Dhone from the Manx National Heritage art collection is travelling to the United Kingdom for specialist study.

Painted at a time when the Isle of Man was owned and ruled by the Earl of Derby and his family, the portrait is the only known likeness of this important Manx figure, who was shot for treason at Hango Hill in 1663.

The painting will be transported to Harrogate this week, where it will be studied under infrared light with the help of art analysts Tager Stonor Richardson in the studios of Francis J Downing Ltd, an accredited studio specialising in cleaning and conserving paintings.

Chris Weeks, Collections Care and Conservation Manager at Manx National Heritage said: “The infrared study will help us see through paint layers that are impenetrable to the human eye.  For example, if the artist started work in carbon black on a white ground (known as an underdrawing), the original sketch will be revealed, which would be very exciting.

This process will help us learn what has happened to the painting over almost four centuries since it was painted and will provide an accurate insight into its original colours, which are heavily impacted by aging.  We may even answer one of the great mysteries of the portrait: who painted it?"

Manx National Heritage has thanked the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for their generosity in meeting the cost of transporting the painting to the United Kingdom and to members of the public who have contributed towards some of the costs to study of the painting.


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