Alexander III of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of the Stag by the Intrepidity of Colin Fitzgerald by Benjamin West is the largest painting in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery. It measures 3.6m by 5.2m and occupies an entire wall.

Perhaps due to its monumental scale, it had been easy to overlook the fact that its impact on the viewer was significantly diminished by a severely discoloured varnish. However, in early 2004, it was agreed to embark on a major cleaning campaign.

Because moving the painting to the conservation department would have meant subjecting the painting to a potentially hazardous sequence of rolling and unrolling, it was decided to carry out the work in situ. Consequently, for the very first time, our visitors had the opportunity to see the conservation process at first hand.

To find out more about the conservation of this painting, buy the book Benjamin West & The Death of the Stag: The Story behind the Painting and its Conservation from our Online Shop.