Posts categorized as Conservation

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.
  • webber fills 033
  • 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 »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 12

Lower member centre-right during swab cleaning. Photograph by Matthew O'Reilly. © Te Papa.

Hello. Matthew O’Reilly, Framer of Paintings, returning to the subject of Poedua, and particularly, her lovely frame. This is my second post about the conservation of the frame. The first one was in June, and it dealt with understanding the frame and its history well enough, and identifying the questions to be answered, before and so that, appropriate… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 11

  • Poedua flower after cleaning
  • Poedua flower after cleaning
  • detail of flower before cleaning
  • detail of flower before cleaning

The varnish removal of Poedua is progressing slowly and painstakingly and we are now almost halfway through this important part of the treatment.  As we have mentioned before, removal of discoloured varnish can have a dramatic effect on the overall balance, colour and depth of a painting.  Because discoloured varnishes like Poedua’s are usually a… Read more »

Re-articulation of Phar Lap’s skeleton – bold decisions and expert advice

  • How to mount a horse? Hayden Prujean and Alex Davies discuss the re-articulation of Phar Lap's skeleton. Photo: Te Papa
  • Robert Clendon and Dr Alex Davies discuss the positioning of Phar Lap's left forelimb and scapular. Photo: Te Papa
  • Dr Alex Davies checks the positioning of Phar Lap's thoracic vertebrae. Photo: Te Papa
  • Phar Lap's trunk skeleton imposed on a life-sized image of the mounted skin held in Melbourne Museum. Photo: Te Papa

Phar Lap’s skeleton is one of Te Papa’s best known exhibits. Perhaps the most famous horse ever to emerge from Australasia, the national identity of Phar Lap is as intensely debated each side of the Tasman as is who invented the pavlova. Foaled at Seadown, near Timaru, in 1926, Phar Lap was bought by the… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 10

  • label 8
  • The topmost label once the paper remnants had been removed revealing 36.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011.  © Te Papa
  • During the removal process. This image shows the paper label coated with a layer of methyl cellulose.  The Mylar on top ensures the methyl cellulose does not 'dry-up'.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa
  • The painting on the easel in the Paintings Conservation lab.  You can see some areas where the varnish has been removed; the sky to the right of Poedua's arm and square patches in the tapa cloth.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011.  © Te Papa

Hello everyone, we are back with our fortnightly updates on the treatment of John Webber’s Poedua. We are progressing slowing with the cleaning of the painting.  At this stage, the cleaning involves the varnish removal and the removal of overpaints (later additions by a previous restorer). Today’s blog post will focus on one stage of… Read more »