Richard Larter, 'Untitled (NO)', 1977

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas


Synethetic polymer paint on cotton-duck canvas, unprimed, so that there are areas of unpainted and unprimed canvas that form part of the composition.


Stable condition although extensive light-brown ‘speckled’ discolourations throughout, especially in areas with less paint. The discolouration appears to be located within the fabric, possibly a mould infestation triggered by exposure to humidity and mould spores present in the wallpaper. There are clumps of fine accretions (possibly mould spores) on the painting surface in the areas of discolouration. The areas of discolouration exhibit whitish fluorescence in ultraviolet light.


The painting surface and canvas reverse were cleaned with a soft brush and vacuum to remove loose surface accretions and mould spores. The painting was exposed to ultraviolet light to kill any active areas of mould. After testing, the painting was surface cleaned with a tailor-made cleaning solution, specific to synthetic polymer paint, with the use of a suction platen to draw the staining back through the canvas. The canvas was treated with a biocide to reduce potential for further staining.

Treatment stages

Figure 1

Painting before treatment.

Figure 2

Reverse of painting, before treatment, with extensive staining apparent.

Figure 3

Detail, before treatment.

Figure 4

Detail of reverse, before treatment.

Figure 5

Detail, before treatment.

Figure 6

Detail, after treatment.

Figure 7

Detail, before treatment.

Figure 8

Detail, after treatment