The Adopt an Old Master scheme was started at Dulwich Picture Gallery
in 1988. The project ensures the ongoing preservation of the collection and 2007 marked the celebration of the 100th adoption. Individuals or groups give the Gallery the money to conserve a picture, and adopt it, often in memory of a Friend of the Gallery. The idea has been copied by many other museums.
There are still many important paintings in store desperately seeking attention before they can be put on public display. This display focuses on a group of works that are in need of restoration. Particularly important are two large canvases, which have not been on public display since World War II: one of St. Cecilia by a still unidentified Bolognese artist, and the other of Venus and Adonis by the workshop of Titian.
With conspicuous canvas rips, areas of raised and loose paint, flaking losses, holes, tears, darkened varnishes, tonal fadings, overpaintings and abrasions, cleaning and relining are urgently needed for these two paintings, and for many others in the collection. A selection of works which are usually in storage, will be exhibited to raise awareness of the conservation needs at the Gallery. By adopting an Old Master painting members of the public will be able to help Dulwich Picture Gallery preserve masterpieces for the enjoyment of future generations.