The North Portico forms the centrepiece and principal entrance to Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, UK.

Gladys, the second wife of the 9th Duke had the North Portico ceiling decorated in 1928 by the artist Colin Gill (a cousin of Eric Gill).

In each of the panels Gill painted eyes; the eyes of Gladys and the 9th Duke.Three of the eyes are blue and three brown. Over time the paintwork had deteriorated; the conservation and restoration of the eyes has recently been completed.

Paint analysis of the eyes determined they were painted with artists oil paints.The setting for the eyes is of gilded rays, on an oil primer, and either a blue or purple brown background.

Artists oils are not given to cope well in an external environment and lost both cohesion and adhesion to the plaster substrate over time.Past leaks through the slate roof above also took their toll. Prior to undertaking the conservation work only two of the eyes remained relatively complete, the other four having suffered to various degrees.

The aim was to conserve all that remained of the Colin Gill paintwork. Algal growth, dust and cobwebs were gently brushed off with a soft brush.The paint was then treated with a solvent-based acrylic co-polymer to re-adhere the paint and help bond it together. The paint had become very powdery over time. Where the paint loss was total the shape and pattern of the eyes could still be read from the paint remains and also the ghost of paint layers and scratch marks that were used when first painted.The missing areas of the eyes were repainted in the manner of the original to fully restore the decorative scheme.

The panel mouldings and cornice to the portico ceiling were redecorated and the gilding renewed as part of the work. The gilding had significantly dulled and deteriorated over the years.

Please take a look through the rest of my work ;)

Thank you

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  • Dave Godden
    Dave Goddenover 4 years ago

    Great image of the Eyes :-)

  • I love the fact that they are actually based on someones eyes!

    – Kim Slater

  • S .
    S .over 4 years ago

    very cool shot

  • Thank you ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • Polly x
    Polly xover 4 years ago

  • relayer51
    relayer51over 4 years ago

    Fantastic shot , were you horizontal at the time , great POV .

  • lol no Mark, it’s extremely large! Thanks for stopping by ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • izzybeth
    izzybethover 4 years ago


  • Thank you ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • Livvy Young
    Livvy Youngover 4 years ago

    Great shot,love it.

  • Thanks Livvy ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • mscott207
    mscott207over 4 years ago

    wow….this is outstanding. the architecture is extremely cool…love the eyes!! i alos love the prespective you chose. great work kim!!

  • Thank you very much Michael ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • catherine walker
    catherine walkerover 4 years ago

    how amazing ..wierd and wonderful. thanks for showing this.

  • Thanks Catherine ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • fototaker
    fototakerover 4 years ago

    wow! the ceiling is gorgeous but that EYE is spooky ~ hate to be looking UP at night!! hahahaa ack me neck hurts so!!!

  • lol thanks for commenting ;o)

    – Kim Slater

  • Merrilyn Hunt
    Merrilyn Huntover 4 years ago

    Cooool shot, Kim! Great perspective!

  • Thank you Merrilyn

    – Kim Slater

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