X-radiography: Presence of Cusping and Damage

This detail of the upper left corner of William James taken before treatment reveals a variety of information. The black angular shapes located primarily in the background of the portrait indicate where complete losses of the original paint layers have occurred. The scalloped distortion in the canvas weave along the outer margins of the painting corresponds to the original placement of tacks when the canvas was first stretched onto its wooden stretcher. The fact that this distortion, also known as cusping, is visible along the edges of both portraits indicates that neither portrait was significantly reduced in size during past treatments. Also evident in this detail is the inscription painted on the back of the non-original lining support shortly after the painting entered the Museum collection; the words ‘Worcester Art Museum’ and the painting’s accession number appear in reverse in two locations.

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