Fine Art Restoration | Oil Paintings, Watercolours and Prints

We at Richard Martin Gallery have been restoring watercolours, oil paintings, prints and drawings for 37 years, during which time we have handled a huge body of work.

Whilst most of our business comes from the Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset, Wiltshire and Surrey and areas, we often receive work from much further afield. Our clients include private collectors, picture dealers, local museums and galleries.

We frequently restore neglected family heirlooms, pictures bought at auctions or fairs, as well as items damaged through accident, fire or flood. 

Oil Paintings

Treatments undertaken include cleaning, restoration and revarnishing, all of which can make a profound difference to the overall appearance. We also undertake repairs of holes or tears in the canvas, in conjunction with re-lining when necessary.

Our aim is always to maintain the original integrity and 'feel' of a painting relative to its age and execution, which requires experience and considered judgement. 

Commonly, paintings will be housed in their original frames which we can also restore, particularly if there are any missing elements or defective gilding.

French oil on canvas, 19th century - relined, restored, cleaned and revarnished


Victorian oil on canvas - restored, cleaned and revarnished


Oil on board, early 20th century - restored, cleaned and revarnished


Old watercolours are often affected by 'foxing' - single, or multiple brown spots. Other problems include overall browning and discolouration through acid migration from old backing boards.

We are able to restore these pictured and, if required, remount and reframe using acid-free conservation materials.

Watercolour by Herbert Menzies Marshall (1841-1913) - overall browning caused by acid-migration from backing board


Watercolour by John Smart (1838-99) - overall browning caused by acid-migration from its old backing board


Watercolour by Orlando Norie (1832-1901) - browning caused by acid-migration from its old backing board


Watercolour by Alma Burlton Cull (1880-1931) - foxed and heavily browned


Watercolour by Harold Percival (1868-1914) - foxed and browned


Prints and Etchings

We can remove foxing or overall browning from prints and etchings, as well as improving the appearance of tears or holes. We also undertake hand colouring of prints where desired.

Hand coloured etching by Charles Hunt (born 1806) - heavily foxed and browned


Etching by WL Wyllie (1851-1931) - browning caused by acid-migration from old backing board


Frames and Mouldings

We restore ornate antique gilt wood and gesso frames by recasting missing elements and matching the original gilt tones. We do not regild using gold leaf as this creates too intense an effect for antique frames.

Stipple engravings in antique frames before & after restoration


Restored frame, before and after