Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern, 1874
James Tissot (French, 1836–1902)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler 1963.41


This fascinating and lovely painting deserves to appear as Tissot originally intended. Fortunately, a conservation treatment will result in moderate to major improvement, and help preserve the painting for decades to come. Currently, there is only a very thin—if any—varnish layer, resulting in extremely poor color saturation. This is why the folds of the clothing appear flattened and cartoon like—there is no sense of depth, volume, or form. Even worse, there are significant grime deposits across the entire surface of the painting.

This is a fairly straightforward treatment, although a full laboratory examination is required. Surface dirt and grime will be removed, and we’ll need to identify and assess the present coat of varnish. Once we can determine how to proceed, we’ll remove the varnish and apply a new coat to maximize color saturation. The results will be transformative.