MUSA Collections Centre: Object of the Month!

Hello!

The (slightly delayed!) Object of the Month for September is a painting that has recently been conserved and we’re delighted to have it back on display in the MUSA Collections Centre! It is a portrait of Mrs Mary Elizabeth Menzies who was the wife of Allan Menzies, a Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism in St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews (1889-1916). It was painted by the artist Charles Sims (1873 – 1928). From the images below, you can see what the painting looked like before and after conservation.

Before the painting was conserved, the canvas was dusty and dirty. If you look very closely, you might also notice that there was a hole in the canvas next to Mrs Menzies' right nostril! The painting had been splashed with some kind of liquid that had gone very streaky!

Ta-da! The painting after conservation! The canvas has been cleaned, streaky marked removed and the tear beside Mrs Menzies' right nostril has been repaired.

This painting is particularly significant as it is one of few portraits of women within the art collection of the University of St Andrews. Mrs Menzies was also the granddaughter of the local hero, John Honey, a student who bravely rescued five seamen from their wrecked ship during a storm on the 3rd January 1800. His heroic achievement is celebrated in St Salvator’s Chapel where you can see the John Honey window. We thought that the historic significance and poor condition of this portrait made it a worthy candidate for conservation!

Plaque attached to frame of the portrait

We would be delighted to hear your thoughts on the MUSA Collections Centre’s Object of the Month! If you would like to visit the MUSA Collections Centre, please contact Claire Robinson, Project Officer, on cr67@st-andrews.ac.uk or 01334 461699.

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