The Project

“Ulysses and the Sirens is one of those great efforts of my Art achieved in the vigour of my life, I can never make again”

William Etty

The Sirens and Ulysses had been deteriorating for nearly 200 years. William Etty’s experimental technique meant the picture began to fall apart almost as soon as it was painted. When conservation staff examined it in 2003, they realised that if nothing was done, Etty’s masterpiece would soon be beyond repair.

With funding from The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Axa Art Insurance, Manchester City Galleries set out to rescue the painting. In 2006 gallery space was converted into a public conservation studio and for the next two years visitors were able to watch the painstaking restoration process. Now fully restored and back in its original frame, the painting is on permanent display at Manchester Art Gallery.

Restoring The Sirens and Ulysses