Art Restoration of Paintings of Old Spanish Missions of California by Edwin Deakin in the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library

Click here for short video of the painting conservation lab tour:

Click here for the website of Santa Barbara Mission Archives and Library:

To review the book on the mission paintings

by Edwin Deakin

click on this link: (coming soon) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Contact info:

Dr. Monica Orozco, Director

Santa Barbara Museum Archives and Library

805 682 4713


Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories

805 564 3438

Carmel Mission by Edwin Deakin

Hello my name is Scott Haskins, Painting Conservator and Head of Conservation at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories ( and I am excited to tell you about the art conservation of the gorgeous paintings of the old Spanish missions of California by Edwin Deakin done between 1897 and 1899.

The 21 paintings of the missions of California by Edwin Deakin are part of the collection at the Santa Barbara Mission Archives Library ( under the direction of Dr. Monica Orozco.

Though the California missions were painted by many artists in the 1800’s only a couple of artists did complete sets of all the missions. Among the most famous was Henry Chapman Ford who painted a series of all the missions 20 years earlier. But of all the artists in the 1800’s, Deakin’s moody old Spanish mission paintings are the most beautiful, the most artistic and the highest quality. The artist, of course, love these paintings when they were finished… so much, in fact, that he set a high price on them individually, and as a collection, so that they would never sell and they would stay together as a collection.

The paintings have been well cared for over the past 120 years and have reached our day in a fairly good condition. They were donated in the 1950’s by the very generous Elaine and Howard Willoughby. Let me share with you some of the preservation and art restoration details that were done to help this paintings look their best.

Tests were performed to make sure that the treatments were safe for the artwork. The cleaning spot in the video showed how discolored the varnish layers were, as we removed the varnish layers from the paintings you can see in the video the difference that it made in returning the paintings to their original colors. Gathers on the corners of the paintings were relaxed and pulled out. The original frames had oxidized, had changed colors and were splitting at the corners. Deakin painted his crest and signature at the back of many of the paintings and often made notations as you can see in the video.

In the video is a quick viewing of all the 21 paintings in this collection after the oil painting restoration treatments.

When Deakin painted these paintings, these historic structures were being re-appreciated, re-valued and the “Mission Style” was very popular. Not only did Deakin love the culture around the missions but he wanted to see them restored and revitalized, but this was not the case with everyone.

Given their romantic and artistic presence there were some artists like William Keith, known as “The Artist of California” and Gutzon Borglum who both declared they “would like to see the missions left in their neglected condition as a reminder of the pastoral time, never to return, and because of the romantic and mystical feeling they evoked.”

Deakin’s exhibition in 1900’s of these 21 paintings was perfectly in line with the “Spanish Revival” movement and the popularity of the Mission Style. Both of these socially accepted artistic design styles were a-variation-on-a-theme of the Arts and Crafts Movement, so popular nationally. The response to Deakin’s paintings was enthusiastic; Sunset Magazine called them “the greatest work of a California artist.”

I should mention also that there is a great book put out by the Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library on these 21 oil paintings that FACL worked on, plus the corresponding watercolors that belong to the Santa Barbara Historical Society (now the SB Historical Museum). In the description area below this video there is a link to learn more about this book.

Thanks are expressed to Oriana Montemurro and Virginia Panizzon, painting conservators at FACL, for their skill and professionalism that were put into the work on these paintings. It was truly a labor of love.

It’s been exciting, a great pleasure and honor for us to provide painting conservation services for the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library (SBMAL) on these wonderful paintings by Edwin Deakin. For us preserving and restoring these wonderful paintings for our generations in the future feels like there is a social conscience part of our work.

Open House to Review Painting Restoration of Missions of California by Edwin Deakin

SBMAL Reception for Edwin Deakin Mission Painting’s Art Conservation

Make a contribution to the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library to support art conservation efforts! Click here:



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FACL,Inc., Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, Art conservation, Art restoration, Painting conservation, Oil painting restoration, Edwin Deakin, Spanish Missions, Spanish Revival, Mission Style, Arts and Crafts Movement, Dr. Monica Orozco, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon, Scott M. Haskins, Painting conservator, Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library, SBMAL, Santa Barbara Historical Society, Santa Barbara Historical Museum,

About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at
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