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Canaletto's 'Stonemason's Yard' and 'San Simeone Piccolo'

David Bomford and Ashok Roy
Technical Bulletin Volume 14, 1993


A full conservation treatment of The Stonemason's Yard confirmed known facts about the work: retouches predating a treatment of 1955 could be attributed to the 1832 cleaning by Seguier, much discussed during the National Gallery cleaning controversy of the following year. These were removed, but earlier and insoluble ones, which could be attributed to Constable, were retained and glazed over.

San Simeone Piccolo was examined to determine the status of a discoloured strip to the left. It appears from cross-sections that it originally formed the canvas turnover, and that Canaletto reattached the canvas to a larger stretcher after he had painted the sky, then applied priming layers to match the overall tone of the priming layers he had used originally. The discontinuity shows in thin areas of the painting.

The materials and techniques of the two paintings are compared with The Feast Day of Saint Roch: all are painted consistently, with Prussian blue for the sky, green earth, Naples yellow, and yellow ocher for greens; pure Naples yellow; and vermilion.


cleaning, conservation policy, Giovanni Antonio Canaletto, National Gallery (London, England), paintings (objects), priming

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To cite this article we suggest using

Bomford, D., Roy, A. 'Canaletto's "Stonemason's Yard" and "San Simeone Piccolo"'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 14, pp 34–41.