Visitors gathered to watch conservation work be undertaken on a much-loved painting by Italian artist Canaletto.

Specialist staff at Bowes Museum helped carry out the work on Regatta on the Grand Canal by Giovanni Antonio Canal, also known as Canaletto, on Monday (July 1) and Tuesday (July 2).

The painting, which is almost two metres high and more than two and a half metres long, needed work to reinforce its frame, cushion the canvas from movement, and protect it.

Five members of the Bowes staff carefully took the 296-year-old oil painting from the wall so an expert conservator could carry out the work on the back of the painting in its 18th century frame.

This work took place in the second floor picture galleries of the Museum in Barnard Castle.

Speaking on the painting, a Bowes Museum spokesperson said: “This is the work of Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), known as Canaletto, an important member of the 18th-century Venetian School.

“Two of his paintings (acknowledged to be among his best) were acquired by the museum in 1982."

The museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily.

The museum was established more than 100 years ago by couple, Joséphine and John Bowes. 

(Image: Sarah Caldecott)

The art collection includes many world-class European paintings and several priceless masterpieces.

“Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in North England and constructed a magnificent building to house them,” a spokesperson for the museum added.

(Image: Sarah Caldecott)

“The collection contains thousands of objects, including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods.”

The museum receives funding from Durham County Council, as well as support from Arts Council England.

(Image: Sarah Caldecott)