When the Scottish National Gallery acquired The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child by Sandro Botticelli in 1999, the painting was in a vulnerable condition. It had not received conservation attention for many decades. The original fabric support was fragile and distorted due to the presence of an old, brittle lining (second canvas glued to the back) and legibility of the paint layers was marred by a deeply discoloured varnish layer.

A major treatment was therefore undertaken in order to strengthen the support and return the image, as far as possible, to the luminous range of colours intended by an artist working in fifteenth-century Italy.