Letter: Clean image

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your Art Market column (9 July) refers to Guido Reni's David with the Head of Goliath as having been 'so overcleaned that it was raw'. I saw the painting both before, during and after cleaning and would disagree with this most strongly.

While the current close attention being given to conservation is healthy, surely the Independent should have consulted with the National Gallery conservation department before giving credit to such an opinion. Would the National Gallery have given the prominence it did to a painting which had been overcleaned immediately prior to a loan?

In my opinion, the failure of the Reni was in no way due to criticism raised over its cleaning, but to the fact that doubts had been expressed about its attribution; and also because it had appeared on the market in an uncleaned state as recently as 1985.

Yours faithfully,

ANTHONY SPEELMAN

Edward Speelman Ltd

London, W1

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