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Conservation completed in the Moses Room

Conservation has recently been completed in the Moses Room in the House of Lords. A large painting, The Judgement of Daniel by John Rogers Herbert, received specialist care during Conference Recess.  

A landscape orientation painting depicting many figures in a town centre. The dress of the figures suggests a biblical setting. In the centre of the composition, a young figure in a light red robe and sandals is stood atop a small flight of steps pointing at a group of figures on the right of the artwork. On the left-hand side another group of figures stand around a young woman wearing white and gold robes and looking up piously with hands grasped to her heart. There are some stones and a sandal at the foot of the steps in the centre of the composition. The group on the right includes a man in a white robe and blue sash who is being accosted by another man wearing white and yellow attire. Each group of figures includes men, women, and children. One woman in the crowd holds a monkey. There is a small deer in the bottom right of the composition, and a large cat on a leash and dressed in a coat and with a mask over its eyes in the bottom left. The background of the composition shows a busy town centre with neat white buildings, paved ground, planted palm trees, and a blue sky.
The Judgement of Daniel Painting by John Rogers Herbert © Parliamentary Art Collection WOA 3245

Our team of conservators worked closely with colleagues in the In-House Services and Estates team to access and treat this large artwork, which is an oil on canvas painting set into the wooden panelled wall. Building a scaffold in the Moses Room allowed our specialist conservators to access the whole painting. 

The upper corner and edges of the artwork had weakened due to the weight of the canvas.  Remedial conservation was carried out to secure the areas. Some small areas of lifting paint were carefully re-adhered to the canvas. The surface was also delicately cleaned using de-ionised water and cotton swabs to remove dust and dirt on the panting’s surface, which had created a grey veil effect over the colourful scene. This greatly improves the presentation of the artwork. 

The artwork depicts a biblical scene from the Book of Daniel. This painting was commissioned for the new Palace in 1850 and painted in 1880 by John Rogers Herbert. 

This conservation project protects the painting until the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. At that time the painting will be re-stretched and lined to further support this large and significant work of art. 

See other works of art by J.R. Herbert 

Read more about what is involved in caring for the Parliamentary Art Collection. 

November 2, 2021