In 1996 the Panorama Foundation initiated a study on the origins and history of the panorama and commissioned a group of restorers to ascertain its condition and carry out emergency conservation work. It is fair to say that virtually nothing was known about the panorama. The starting point was the fact that it had been stored, in a rolled up state, for decades. Technical conservation and logistics problems were anticipated.
To ascertain the condition of the panorama the foundation shipped the painting, weighing more than 1.5 tonnes, to Berne in autumn 1997; it was examined by a team of specialists (restorers Ueli Fritz, Bernhard Maurer and Peter Subal) in spring 1998. Emergency conservation work was carried out on the layers of paint most at risk; the condition was photographed, and recorded in drawings and written reports; the marks left by the mounting and the joins in the faux terrain documented; finally the painting was transferred onto new rolls. The costs were covered by the Loterie Romande and the Canton of Fribourg.
Its state of preservation proved to be relatively good. The unvarnished oil painting was found to be virtually unaltered. The surface of the fabric had been damaged by extreme mould infestation due to damp and by nail holes. It was also torn over a length of 18.5 m. On two of the strips of fabric the middle section of the painting was soiled and had been gnawed by rodents, which meant its mechanical cohesion was no longer guaranteed.