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Bridge tournament to aid Allandale art restoration

Leigh Ann Laube • Aug 1, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT - Five historic oil paintings at Allandale Mansion are scheduled for restoration, and Friends of Allandale hope proceeds from an upcoming bridge tournament will be enough to pay for it.

Benefit Bridge at Allandale will be take place at the mansion on Aug. 17. Participants will gather at 9:30 a.m. for social time and coffee, and will begin bridge play at 10 a.m. Lunch and a fashion show, with fashions by Siegner’s Ltd., Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, will follow at 1 p.m. Prizes for the top three bridge scores and door prizes will be awarded at 1:45 p.m. Cost is $100 per person, $75 of which is tax-deductible. Reservations are requested by Aug. 10.

A typical restoration of a painting costs between $1,100 and $1,600, depending on the condition of the painting, said Allandale Curator Rod Gemayel.

“We had a guy who came in here, and he’s very knowledgeable. He’s an art appraiser, and he knows when he looks at paintings who the artists are, the value of the painting. He’s looked at them, and he based it on the condition of the paintings we have,” Gemayel said. “He has criteria he goes through to judge when ones need work first.”

It will take from three to six months for restoration work to be completed on each painting, Gemayel said.

The paintings, which are between 150 and 200 years old, are sent to a restorer who works both at Up Against the Wall in Kingsport and in North Carolina.

“He’ll clean them, match the paint, restretch them, remount them on the frames, revarnish them and then they’re ready to go for another 100, 200 years. It’s a very slow and tedious process. It’s not something you can rush.”

Two of the paintings hang in the mansion’s dining room, one in the library, one in the parlor (the green room) and one in the living room. All except the painting in the living room — of George and Martha Washington — were purchased by Harvey and Ruth Brooks, original owners of the home.

The painting of the Washingtons was purchased by Friends of Allandale.

For more information about Benefit Bridge at Allandale, call call 229-9422.

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