Glencoe Folk Museum

Case Studies

Conservation Grant
Glencoe Folk Museum
Photo: Egan, Matthew & Rose

Conservation of “Glencoe” by Horatio McCulloch. Oil on canvas, 45.5x60.9cm.

Horatio McCulloch was one of the best known and most successful Scottish artists of the Victorian era, his paintings giving a visual depiction of the “wilderness” of the Highlands that had been popularised by writers such as Walter Scott. This dramatic painting depicts one of the most famous and recognisable places in Scotland, Glen Coe. Though smaller than his more famous ‘Glencoe’ (currently in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery), it is no less impressive, and captures the grandeur of the Three Sisters.

The painting is believed to be the only one of McCulloch’s Highland Landscapes that is held not only in the Highlands, but also actually in the area it depicts. It will be used to help tell the story of the romanticised, Victorian image of the Highlands, the consequent rise in tourism and what this meant to the people who lived there.

Although it is one of the most significant artefacts in the museum’s collection, it had been completely inaccessible to visitors for a number of years, unable to be displayed due to its poor condition and risk of further deterioration. Restoration of this painting would protect it in the long-term, allow its display it in the Museum for the first time in years, and enable the painting to be professionally digitised, making it accessible to visitors and online.

Glencoe needed extensive conservation as, structurally and visually it was very fragile, with numerous areas of localised instability and loss. This included delamination of paint from the canvas, cracks and missing decorative features from the frame and significant dirt accumulation. Conservators Egan, Matthew & Rose sympathetically restored the painting, reversed damage, and have prevented any further deterioration. The original frame was also cleaned, consolidated and fitted with low reflective museum glass, and the painting was reframed.

£1,249 awarded in November 2022
It is no exaggeration to say that this project has saved this beautiful painting and as an organisation, we have learned about conservation techniques and ideal storage/display conditions for historic art, which has improved our collections management skills. Thankyou." Glencoe Museum