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In this episode, Restorer Paul Ackroyd shows the process of removing the aged, discoloured varnish from 'Portrait of a Middle-Aged Woman with Hands Folded' by Frans Hals: 

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About the painting

'Portrait of a Middle-Aged Woman with Hands Folded' was acquired by the Gallery in 1876. The painting has not been cleaned or restored since entering the collection, and the varnish has discoloured with age, causing a 'foggy' effect across the painting. 

Although we don't know the identity of the woman in the portrait, it is likely that she was a citizen of Haarlem in the Netherlands, where Hals lived and worked, and that the portrait may have been one half of a pair of pendants, the other likely depicting her husband. 

Find out more about the painting.

This video content is sponsored by Nikon, Digital Content Partner

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Watch previous episodes in the series:

A first look at 'The Red Boy'
Paul Ackroyd introduces Lawrence's 'Red Boy' – a work so popular it was the first-ever painting to feature on a British postage stamp
Cleaning the 'lost altarpiece'
Britta New and Nelly von Aderkas discuss the cleaning of a Renaissance altarpiece that was hidden in an Italian wood store for many years
The unfashionable artist who inspired Van Gogh
Kristina Mandy discusses Adolphe Monticelli, an artist admired in his lifetime, who inspired Van Gogh's famous 'Sunflowers', but who later fell out of fashion
Restoring an 'undisplayable' painting: Part two
Kendall Francis and Larry Keith discuss the restoration of a work with a 'snowstorm' of painting loss
Larry Keith reveals an exciting discovery about Piazzetta's unfinished work, 'The Sacrifice of Isaac', and explains the plan for the painting's restoration
Restoring the Gallery's oldest painting
Kristina Mandy shows the steps involved in restoring a painting that is over 750-years-old
Restoring Botticelli's 'Adoration of the Kings': Part one
Jill Dunkerton and Britta New find out what was hiding beneath a frame for nearly two centuries
Restoring Botticelli's 'Adoration of the Kings': Part two
Watch Jill Dunkerton as she retouches a Renaissance masterpiece
Restoring Botticelli's 'Adoration of the Kings': Part three
Jill Dunkerton and Marta Melchiorre ask, how can we identify Botticelli's hand from that of his assistant, Filippino Lippi's?
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Cleaning Rubens's 'Het Steen'
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Retouching Rubens's 'Het Steen'
After months of restoration, Larry Keith unveils the newly retouched 'Het Steen' in the Conservation Studio
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