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Conservation Corner – Portrait of Lady Margaret Hunloke

12th December 2023

You may remember that, last year, Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust were raising funds to pay for the conservation of a portrait of Lady Margaret Hunloke by Daniel Gardner (1750 – 1805). We are delighted to say that, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the painting has been conserved and returned to hang in the dining room at Cannon Hall Museum.

Margaret Roberts Coke married Sir Henry Hunloke, 4th Baronet, in 1769. As the sister of Thomas Coke, Margaret was an aunt to Elizabeth Coke, who married John Spencer-Stanhope of Cannon Hall. Lady Hunloke and her sister-in-law, Jane, both had their portraits painted by Daniel Gardiner in the early 1780s. Elizabeth Spencer Stanhope likely brought these portraits to Cannon Hall to remember her mother and aunt.

Gardner was a popular portraitist of the period and had trained with George Romney before working at the studio of Joshua Reynolds. He had an unusual technique of mixing oil and pastel and applying this to paper before attaching the portrait to canvas. This technique, however, can leave the painting prone to flaking.  You can see how painstaking the conservation process can be in this video from conservator, Richard Hawkes, filmed during work on the portrait of Lady Dutton and her daughters – also conserved thanks to supporters of the Trust.