Alba Art Conservation was honored to be chosen for the treatment of a 1910 portrait of Civil War veteran AP Burchfield for the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum.
The Soldiers and Sailors memorial hall "was built to recognize the sacrifice, valor and patriotism of the Civil War Veterans of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania". Today, the museum boasts an extensive collection of Civil War era materials and the Memorial honors men and women of all branches of the U.S. military. For information about this local institution please visit: http://soldiersandsailorshall.org/about-us/
Burchfield was a member of Company E, 123rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, enlisting on August 8th, 1862 in Allegheny City and was promoted to sergeant on April 10th, 1863. Following the war, Burchfield was the first president of the Memorial Association, who conceived of the memorial hall and its construction. He died before the official opening of Soldiers and Sailors. The opening ceremony is depicted in the photograph (right), where his portrait hangs as tribute.
During the initial assessment of the painting, the portrait immediately stood out in the artist's attention to detail and careful modelling of the subject's face. The general is depicted over a warm, deep earth colored background. The warmth complements the natural rosiness to his face and contrasts the cool shadows that help create the three-dimensionality of the subject.
The painting exhibited two tears in the lower left corner, one straight and the other compound (branched). The painting also exhibited a discolored, very oxidized varnish layer that had been applied to the surface while the painting was framed.