Posts categorized as Pacific

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 »

New Exhibiton – Oceania: Early Encounters at Te Papa

This coming Saturday, 6 August 2011 is the opening of the combined Oceania exhibition between Te Papa and Wellington City Gallery. Te Papa’s exhibition titled Early Encounters will showcase a range of taonga and objects from History, Maori, Pacific Cultures, Art and Natural Environment collections. The three month long show will be open during the… Read more »

Remembering Jim Vivieaere – artist and curator (1947-2011)

jim vivieaere

The Pacific Cultures team and the Art team would like to acknowledge artist and curator Jim Vivieaere who passed away a month ago after illness. Jim’s involvement with Te Papa spanned many years and several projects including Art now: the first biennial review of contemporary art (1994). Art curator Christina Barton invited Jim to create a… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 8

  • Image of Poedua in its frame immediately after it arrived at Te Papa. Photograph taken by Michael Hall. © Te Papa.
  • Upper left corner detail at the back showing cut-down mitre with remnant of original key plus later key across mitre. Photograph taken by Matthew O'Reilly. © Te Papa.
  • Upper right corner detail at the back showing uncut mitre with original cross key in position; compare with upper left corner image. Photograph taken by Matthew O'Reilly. © Te Papa.
  • Upper left corner detail showing the cut-down mitre with associated loss of motif along the mitre

If you have been following Mel and Katherine’s Poedua treatment blogs you may be surprised to read another’s voice on this one – a voice from the edge as it were. I’m Matthew O’Reilly, Framer of Paintings here at Te Papa. My previous blogs were quite some time ago now. Katherine and Mel have needed to… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 7

  • The same area after the varnish has been removed.  Photograph taken by Katherine Campbell, 2011.  © Te Papa
  • Melanie cleaning a small test area in the drapery.  Photograph taken by Katherine Campbell, 2011. © Te Papa
  • More varnish removal test areas.  The white hazy areas on some spots are caused by varnish residues remaining on the surface.  This occurs when the solution does not work effectively at removing the entire varnish layer.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • varnish testing 007

In the paintings conservation lab, we have been working away steadily on the varnish removal of Poedua.  Every now-and-then we come across a painting where this stage of the treatment is relatively easy, where a simple organic solvent solution is effective in removing the varnish without any effect to any part of the underlying paint… Read more »

The conservation of Poedua: part 6

  • Varnish removal tests
  • Varnish removal tests
  • Test patches
  • Testing the varnish solubility

Now that the painting has had its layer of surface dirt removed, the next step in the treatment is the removal of the varnish layer.  A lot of the principles that we talked about with surface cleaning, also apply to the removal of varnish layers.  Therefore, prior to beginning it’s important to establish as closely as… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua: Part 5

  • The painting after the surface cleaning.  The varnish layer still hides the true colours and tones, but already we see a great improvement.  Photograph by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • Katherine works cleaning the top left corner.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011.  © Te Papa.
  • The cleaning is almost there!  The top left of this detail is all that remains of the surface dirt layer.  Photograph taken by Melanie Carlisle, 2011. © Te Papa.
  • Cleaning progressed from right to left.  In this detail the difference between the dirty and the cleaned sections is distinct.  Photograph taken by Katherine Campbell, 2011.  © Te Papa.

In our last post we discussed the process of testing to identify the most appropriate cleaning solution to remove the surface dirt layer from the painting. After finding the best cleaning solution for the painting the surface cleaning can begin, but we always carefully monitor our progress to ensure that the cleaning solution is working… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua: Part 4

  • spliced image
  • Surface Cleaning
  • surface cleaning
  • MCP

Now that we have cleaned the back of the canvas we can look at surface cleaning the front of the painting.  This is a separate procedure from the removal of varnish and overpaints and is completed first because surface dirt is the first layer encountered.  The reason we remove the dirt layer on paintings is because it… Read more »

The Conservation of Poedua – Part 3

  • In the centre of this photo the canvas has a grey appearance where it is yet to be cleaned.  The P of Poedua has been cleaned and is clearer and easier to read.  Photograph by Katherine Campbell, 2011. © Te Papa
  • As I hold the painting, Katherine uses a palette knife to gently dislodge dust and debris caught between the stretcher member and the canvas.  A pile of dust can be seen on the table top.  Photograph by Matthew O'Reilly, 2011. © Te Papa
  • Katherine cleaning the reverse of the canvas
  • Dusting the reverse of the canvas with a brush and indirect vacuum.  Photograph taken by Katherine Campbell, 2011. © Te Papa

After completing our technical examination of the painting, taking lots of pre-treatment photographs and writing the condition report, we write a treatment proposal for the painting.  We consider the current condition of the painting and what we would like to achieve with different treatments.  Our proposal is discussed with the curator and together we outline… Read more »