Posts categorized as Conservation

Getting into our uniforms: A behind the scenes look

  • The display mannequin with a cavity cut out, to accomodate the required locking mounts for the firearms and to enable the mannequin to be screwed to the back wall of the case. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • Detail of the glove after the modification of the display mannequin. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • Mannequin hands with rebuilt fingers constructed of armature wire and archival foam. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • Uniform of Colonel Willie Apiata, VC dressed on its mannequin without any modifications. The mannequin was about 10 cm narrower between the shoulders than Colonel Apiata, and slightly taller than him. Image copyright Te Papa.

Hopefully many of you have seen or plan to see our newest Eyelights gallery exhibition that opened on the 24th of September.  Uniformity: Cracking the Dress Code  features uniforms worn in various contexts—school, church, battlefield, rugby field, and even those worn on the street.  A previous post about Uniformity talked about the role that outside… Read more »

Behind the Scenes of Angels and Aristocrats

Mrs Humphrey Devereux; 1771; Copley, John Singleton.  After treatment, 2012, photograph by Kate Whitley

Te Papa’s latest art exhibition, Angels & Aristocrats, opens on the 20th October in the Level 5 galleries.  The exhibition draws on a number of collections from around New Zealand including artworks from Te Papa’s collection which you will see on display.  Some of these paintings required attention in the conservation lab before the exhibition began, to allow… Read more »

Xray Vision, part I

  • Image of taiaha ME001310 produced by non-invasive Xray scanner. The arrows indicate the wrappings beneath the red wool. Image by Anne Peranteau. Copyright Te Papa.
  • Xray image of taiaha
  • Te Papa's Kaitiaki Taonga Māori Shane James and Objects Conservator Nirmala Balram working with Karyne Rogers and John West at the GNS Isotope Centre. Image by Anne Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.
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As an art conservation student, I was frequently encouraged by my tutors to think of my profession as a three-legged stool—a platform supported by the three disciplines of connoisseurship, fine arts, and science.   Understanding the science of how materials age is critical for being able to slow down deterioration.  In addition, scientific methods of analysis can… Read more »

Kōrero Kākahu: Weaving Worldviews

Donna Head, Kohai Grace and Clare Butler. Photograph by Pamela Lovis

by Matariki Williams A highlight for me in Kahu Ora is a kākahu that is in the process of being cleaned by Textile Conservator Anne Peranteau. This kahu kurī is from between 1750 and 1840, of unknown provenance, and is made from strips of the pelt of a kurī (Polynesian dog) sewn onto a finely twined foundation… Read more »

Caring for our photographic negatives

  • Cellulose acetate film was used for negatives from the 1920s.  It tends to break down to acetic acid, causing the film to shrink.  This makes the binder layer form channels and spots, and the image becomes difficult to read.
  • Steve McStay and Paul Simpson sliding an empty drawer into the plan chest unit.
  • Steve McStay and Paul Simpson sliding an empty plan drawer into the unit.
  • An acetate negative with 'vinegar syndrome'

We have an enormous collection of photographic negatives and transparencies on glass and film, going back to the 1870s. They include all sorts of images from studio portraits to holiday snaps, landscapes, photographs of sports teams, and artists’ negatives and transparencies. Many negatives are chemically unstable and, if left in an uncontrolled environment, will deteriorate to… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 14

  • Detail of the same area as above after the new fill material has been added.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, © Te Papa.
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  • Overall image after the new fills have been added to the losses in the paint layer.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, © Te Papa.
  • Overall image showing the complete clean - all surface dirt, varnish and old restorations have been removed.  The damages and deterioration in the paint layer are exposed.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, © Te Papa.

  We have had a very busy start to 2012, we have been working to have Poedua ready for display in March and preparing a number of paintings for the upcoming touring exhibition Angels and Aristocrats. After the painting was re-stretched following the structural treatment, the old restorations including overpaint and old fills were removed. … Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 13

  • Katherine and I restretching the canvas and attaching the strip lining canvas at the back with staples. Photograph taken by Drew Ward, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • The repaired join after the wooden insert has been attached. Photograph by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • A small section of the stretcher surrounding the damage was removed using chisels.  Photograph taken by James Kirk, 2011.  © Te Papa.
  • poedua stretcher 003

The varnish removal is finally complete!  The detail of the brushwork in the Poedua’s face and hair have been revealed and we are one step closer to getting this painting ready for display. During the varnish removal we discovered a damage on the stretcher which meant that we needed to take the canvas off the… Read more »

Unveiled: Here Come the Brides lecture

Keira Miller of the V&A prepares a ball gown for exhibition.

Here Come the Brides: Packing and Mounting Unveiled Join Keira Miller from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, for fascinating behind-the-scenes insights into the preparation of Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London on Saturday 17 December at 1pm. Keira’s talk will cover textile conservation, the unexpected complexities of mannequin… Read more »