The Telegraph‘s Melanie McDonagh hopes the door doesn’t hit Martin Wyld in the ass on his way out as the UK National Gallery’s director of conservation. As far she’s concerned, Wyld never met a painting he didn’t think he could improve:
And the upshot is that when you put any masterpiece from the National next to companion pieces from other, continental, galleries, the result is often just embarrassing. At the Titian exhibition at the National a few years back, its own Bacchus and Ariadne (which Wyld worked on) was shockingly over-restored by comparison, say, with the Prado’s Titian. It’s not as if there weren’t critics at the time pointing all this out. Sarah Walden, one of Britain’s great restorers – in whose house I was fortunate to live for a while – wrote a book, The Ravished Image, in the Eighties, recently republished with a foreword by Gombrich, which pointed out that in over-restoring paintings we bring our own, modern aesthetic to bear upon a very different sensibility.
The comments take a very different tone with numerous defenses of Wyld.