The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work is in very interesting condition. While the figure, desk and document seem to be in very good condition, the pale brown and ochre background is not original and has been completely broadly repainted. The astrolabe sphere is original but has received retouching, and some of the subtleties of the original drawing of this instrument have probably been compromised by the background repaint. Beneath this extensive repaint is an original dark paint color, which is typical for works of this kind. This color can be seen across the top edge beneath the paper tape that has been added around the edges.
The canvas has two thin old linings. Apart from some losses and wear and tear on the edges on the left, in the upper center, upper right and lower right, there is no indication that this work has suffered any noticeable structural damage. The tacking edges have received recent reinforcements, applied with Beva371, to allow for proper stretching. While the outcome of removing the non-original background color cannot be entirely predicted, it seems that if the canvas were properly lined and the painting fully cleaned and retouched where necessary, it would be seen to be in good condition. "This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."