In the Lab: Creating New Fills for George Washington

Feb 21, 2013

Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington with fills, before inpainting. Photo: Kate Smith.

Last time we checked in with conservator Kate Smith, she was carefully cleaning Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington. Since then, Kate has removed discolored varnish, grime, and poorly matched fills from earlier restorations used to cover up holes and abrasions.

A fill or filling is a material such as gesso or spackle used to replace lost paint. The surface of the fill is leveled, textured, and painted to blend with surrounding paint layers.

In this series of photos on Flickr, Kate walks us through the process of creating fills and “inpainting” them to match the original composition.

Do you have any questions for our conservators? Post them here.