Restoration and Conservation

Abbie Vandivere has more than a decade of expertise in the restoration and conservation of easel paintings. She is is employed as paintings conservator at the Mauritshuis. Experienced in the treatment of both canvas and panel paintings, Abbie has worked for museums, government institutions, and private clients. For further details of prior conservation treatments and a full survey of her work experience, please see the list of conservation treatments below and download her CV. Abbie is accredited with Restauratoren Nederland, and is a member of ICOM-CC, CODART, and the Historians of Netherlandish Art.

A conservation treatment begins with a technical examination, which can often be undertaken on site where the painting is hanging or stored. Using the information gathered during this examination, a treatment programme and estimate is created. These take into consideration the impetus for treatment, such as an urgent case to stabilise areas of loss or damage, making the painting presentable for display, or a full, more complex treatment. During treatment, additional research can be undertaken regarding painting technique, history and context, or scientific analysis (including examination or samples in cross-section), if desired.

In particular, Abbie specialises in retouching large-scale areas of loss and damage. If a painting is extensively damaged and the decision is made to reconstruct a missing area of the composition, she undertakes both art historical and technical research into the most appropriate method for reconstructing the damage. For an example, click on the Ball Players below.


Please contact Abbie with any questions about restoration or the care of your collection.

Treatment summaries

Freelance restoration for the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

Four portraits of Kenau

Rediscovering the
Heroine or Hellcat of Haarlem

The Capture of Damiate
by C.C. van Wieringen

Retouching a large seascape with thousands of dots

Ball Players
by Jan Miense Molenaer

Reconstructing a missing figure

Jan Cornelisz. Vermeyen's
Holy Family andCardinal
A diptych reunited?
Other treatments

FRANS HALS MUSEUM, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 01/2006-01/2008 and 07/2009-present


Cornelis Holsteijn, Venus and Amor Lament the dead Adonis, oil on canvas, ca. 1647, 06/2014-09/2014
•  Technical examination (cross-sections, IRR),
investigation into materials and technique, surface cleaning, varnish removal to improved "blanched" appearance, retouching, varnishing. Image of painting used to promote exhibition Emotions: Pain and pleasure in the Dutch golden age
Jan Mandijn, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, oil on panel, ca. 1550, 03/2006-12/2006

• Technical examination (cross-sections, IRR, x-ray), investigation into materials and technique, surface cleaning, varnish and overpaint removal, assisting with unblocking the cradle, gluing cracks in panel, filling losses, retouching, varnishing

Other responsibilities: Presenting treatments in progress to museum visitors and staff members; couriering paintings for exhibitions in London, U.K. and Washington, U.S.A.; assisting with monitoring the environmental conditions of studio and galleries; treatments of works in the collection; condition checking paintings for loan; condition checking and surface cleaning paintings prior to glazing



INSTITUUT COLLECTIE NEDERLAND, Rijswijk, The Netherlands, 07/2006-06/2009


Pieter Mulier the Elder, Ships in a Storm, oil on panel, ca. 1650, 01/2009-06/2009

• Technical examination (including x-ray, IRR), surface cleaning, varnish removal, removal of two layers of overpaint that covered the entire sky, reattribution based on uncovered areas of original paint (painting was formerly attributed to A. van Beyeren), major retouching and reconstruction of large missing area of the composition (loss was approximately 30cmx20cm)


G.P. Verbruggen, Vase and Garland of Flowers, oil on canvas, 1691, 08/2007-02/2008

Thorough technical examination (cross-sections, XRF, x-ray, IRR) to determine the reasons for the large-scale overpainting of a portrait in the middle of the composition, surface cleaning, varnish removal, strip lining, retouching, varnishing


P. Isaacz, Family Portrait, oil on panel, ca. 1609, 04/2007-07/2007

• Technical examination, surface cleaning, varnish and overpaint removal, large-scale retouching


J.H.L. de Haas, Eight Paintings of Cows, oil on paper glued to panel, ca. 1850, 07/2006-09/2006

A. Mauve, Bok, oil on cardboard glued to panel, ca. 1850 08/2006-09/2006

• Treatment involved visually unifying nine paintings that were in disparate conditions. Technical examination, surface cleaning, varnish and overpaint removal, consolidation, varnishing, filling losses, retouching





Arthur George Walker, Walker’s Studio No. 1, oil on canvas, ca. late 1920s–early 1930s, 03/2005-06/2005

• Technical examination (cross-sections, EDX, x-ray, IRR), research into materials and technique, consolidation, surface cleaning


Attributed to Salvator Rosa, Head of a Bearded Man, oil on canvas, ca. mid 17th-century, 05/2004-06/2005

• Technical examination (cross-sections), surface cleaning, varnish and overpaint removal, texturing fills, retouching


Anonymous Netherlandish, The Calling of St. Peter, oil on panel, ca. early 17th-century, 01/2004-06/2005

• Retouching, monitoring environment and response of panel, designing and building panel tray (flexible unattached auxiliary support) for display in uncontrolled environment


Georgios Gounaropoulos, Still Life with Jug, Basket of Fruit and Fish, oil on canvas, ca. 1930, 05/2003-03/2004

• Technical examination (cross-sections, EDX), consolidation, surface cleaning, moisture treatments to correct deformations and severely overlapping flakes of paint, mending two tears using reweaving method, filling losses, retouching, repairing strainer, structural improvement of frame



Peter Paul Rubens, Cain Slaying Abel, oil on panel, 1608-1609, 01/2003

• Surface cleaning and retouching to prepare for display in the National Gallery, London


After Jean-Baptiste van Mour, Zulneri Page Pour Garder Les Princes Enfermes, oil on copper, 18th-century, 01/2003-11/2003

• Technical examination (cross-sections, EDX), surface cleaning, varnish and overpaint removal, investigation into the degradation of smalt, consolidation, application of isolating varnish, filling losses, retouching, application of final varnish, framing



THE GLENBOW MUSEUM, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Marion Nicoll, Presence No. 5 (Old Man), oil and acrylic resin on canvas, 1960, 08/2004

• Investigation of technique and possible addition of Lucite 44 to oil medium, examination of related paintings in Glenbow collection, surface cleaning, heat and solvent tests in preparaton for lining, suggested alternatives to lining with heat in order to treat severely cracked and cupped paint


Frederick Arthur Verner, Prairie King, oil on canvas, 1911 08/2004

• Surface cleaning, moisture treatment to correct deformation, conservation of frame including replacement of missing ornaments using casting method


Fred de Forrest Schook, Alberta Homemaker: Four Years Effort, oil on canvas, 1909, 08/2004

• Stretcher bar (cami) lining, framing


Catharine R. Whyte, North Towards Bow Summit, oil on canvas, ca. 1960s, 07-08/2004

• Removal from secondary support, lining with flocked BEVA onto polyester sailcloth, retouching, framing





Attributed to Lorenzo Monaco, The Beheading of St. Paul, egg tempera on panel, ca. 1390-95, 07/2003

• Attribution, technical examination (IRR, X-radiography, pigment identification, polarized light microscopy), cleaning punchwork, overpaint and varnish removal, leveling fills, retouching, varnishing, framing


Homer Dodge Martin, Landscape with Poplars, oil on canvas, mid 19th-century, 01/2002

• Surface cleaning, varnish removal, retouching, varnishing, framing


George Luks, Luxembourg, oil on wood, early 20th-century, 01/2002

• Surface cleaning, varnish removal, varnishing, retouching, framing