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City of Kingston Mayors Get A Facelift: Kingston City Hall mayoral portrait collection restored by conservation efforts

March 15, 2018 -

When guided City Hall tours begin on May 22 this year visitors will experience one of the finest collections of mayoral portraits in North America. The portraits, dating from the 1840s until 2001 are on display throughout Kingston City Hall National Historic Site. In total, these 61 portraits provide a glimpse into the political and social history of Kingston.

"As with all museum collections, there is a need for periodic repair and conservation of art and artifacts so they are preserved for future generations to enjoy," says Jennifer Campbell, manager of cultural heritage.  "The recent restoration of the City's nineteenth-century portrait of Mayor Robert McLean is an excellent example of careful and appropriate art conservation."

Although not all artifact conservation projects are as dramatic as the restoration of the McLean portrait, proper and timely care and treatment of the City's civic collection ensures these heritage objects continue to document the community's history for generations to come.

About the Mayor Robert McLean portrait

Robert McLean was a local physician and mayor of Kingston in 1846. Prior to treatment, the McLean portrait had many problems. The painting had sustained significant water damage, its canvas was torn and punctured and the frame required repair and restoration. As the treatment progressed, the conservation team and City staff were surprised to learn that previous restorers had over-painted the entire background of the painting. After layers of dirt and dust and over-paint were removed, the conservators discovered a beautiful sunset and fine details in the subject's figure and clothing. During the treatment process, conservators filled and painted losses and tears in the canvas.  The gilded frame had previously been over-painted with a gold-coloured bronze paint – this paint was removed and the frame re-gilded to resemble its original condition.

Now in its 22nd year, free guided tours will be offered May 22 – October 11, 2018 originating from City Hall's Heritage Resource Centre. For more information to volunteer as a City Hall Tour Guide, to book a group or educational tour, contact 613-546-4291, ext. 1389 or visit /explore/culture-history/history/city-hall.

About the City of Kingston

Kingston's vision of being a smart, livable 21st century city is fast becoming reality. History and innovation thrive in our dynamic city located along the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario, an easy drive from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, in the heart of eastern Ontario. With a stable and diversified economy that includes global corporations, innovative startups and all levels of government, Kingston's high quality of life offers access to world-class education and research institutions, advanced healthcare facilities, affordable living and vibrant entertainment and tourism activities.

Twitter: @CityofKingston
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCityofKingston

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Media contact: For more information call the communications and customer experience department at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.