Nicotine & Oil Paints

Uncle Eli

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Apr 2, 2005
Sunny Malibu CA.
An elderly couple came in today and dropped of two small pastel floral oil paintings for cleaning. Generally we use a picture cleaner by windsor newton, an it brings a lot of the brilliance back to the piece. However, these are covered with years of Nicotine,
and are extremly yellow. Under The rabbet, the painting was a very brilliant white. The picture cleaner hasn't touched the damage. I was wondering if anyone had some helpful hints on cleaning up these paintings.
It sounds like the varnish may be in need of help. If the Winsor & Newton wn't do it, they may need a professional restorer. I have used that W&N cleaner and found it to be a great product.
I've never seen the W&N cleaner. Where do you get it? Is it safe?
The solvents a restorer uses are much stronger than the stuff in the Windsor Newton. The deposits from the cigarette smoke is more likely tar based and the WN product is more for disolving old Damar varnish.
WN also makes distilled white turpentine that might work a bit better...still a very mild solvent, but as with the lithograph, consultation with a conservator could save you a load of heartache.
The next time we get into a discussion about whether canvas paintings should have glazing, let's remember this thread.