New Discovery Sheds Light on Canaletto’s Time in London

Image of Roxanne Sperber retouching Canaletto's "Westminster from Near the Terrace of Somerset House" (1750, oil on canvas).

Over the last year Roxane Sperber, a FAIC/Kress Fellow in Painting Conservation at the Yale Center for British Art, has intently studied six Canaletto paintings from the Center’s collection and treated three for conservation. These paintings represent Canaletto’s active years in London from 1746 to 1755, a period with little previous advanced technical research. Through her collaboration with the Technical Studies Lab at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH), Sperber and her colleague Dr. Jens Stenger discovered a previously unidentified pigment in Canaletto’s palette which has revealed a new understanding of Canaletto’s materials and practice during his stay in London.