Back to all projects

Restoration of the portrait of Alexandra Feodorovna with Children by George Dawe

  • Before restoration
  • During restoration
  • After restoration
  • Fragment before restoration
  • Fragment after restoration
  • 1 / 5
  • 2 / 5
  • 3 / 5
  • 4 / 5
  • 5 / 5

The 1826 painting of Alexandra Feodorovna with Children by the English portraitist George Dawe (1781–1829), depicting the Empress with her son Alexander and daughter Maria, was stored for several decades on a roller together with other canvases in the storerooms of the State Hermitage museum. 

The painting before restoration was under a layer of a very dark mottled varnish and there were restoration retouches across the whole surface that had changed tone. Upon examination, it was discovered that the painting had at some point been transferred to a new canvas. The artist’s original canvas was removed and replaced with a new one in the 19th century.

As a result of the restoration, the canvas was strengthened and the deformations were eliminated. Losses of paint were replenished with in oils strictly within the loss areas. Removal of superficial soiling and restoration of the varnish gave the painting back its original bright colours. For example, the colour of the dress has changed from a dull dirty greenish shade to dark blue, and the colour of the curtain from brown to dark cherry.

Hidden from the public eye in the past, this work by George Dawe will now take a worthy place in the museum's display showing the wife and eldest children of Emperor Nicholas I depicted by famous English portraitist at the height of his powers.

The staff members of the State Hermitage’s Laboratory for the Scientific Restoration of Easel Painting  who worked on the restoration were:

Korobov Viktor 

Head of the Laboratory

Brovkin Valery 


Nikolsky Alexei 


The project was realized with the support of the Anonymous Corporate Donor