Posts categorized as Pacific

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 »

Conservation of Poedua, part 2

  • Poedua inscription
  • Poedua inscription
  • cropped inscription
  • Inscription

Poedua is an oil painting on stretched canvas, meaning the composition is painted on a fabric support which is stretched to keep it evenly tensioned, over an expandable wooden stretcher.  Canvas supports began to replace traditional wooden panel supports from about the 16th century and were the most commonly used type of support by the 18th… Read more »

The conservation of Poedua – part 1

  • Ultra-violet photograph of Poedua, 2011, Photograph by Melanie Carlisle © Te Papa
  • Ultra-violet photograph of the painting, 2011, Photograph by Melanie Carlisle. © Te Papa
  • Infrared photograph - detail, 2011, Photograph by Michael Hall. MA_I227737. © Te Papa
  • Katherine examining the painting with a hand-held microscope

Welcome to the first blog to keep you up-to-date with the conservation treatment of John Webber’s portrait of Poedua.  Katherine Campbell and I, the two paintings conservators here at Te Papa, will aim to post fortnightly on the progress of our work, offering you insight into what happens to a painting during a conservation treatment…. Read more »

2011 Māori and Pacific Textile Symposium

2011 Māori and Pacific Textile Symposium The beating of aute, or tapa, is a heartbeat that resounds across the ocean of Kiwa. The harakeke of Aotearoa, symbolising family, acknowledges the relationship of the Pacific people as one, through weaving. These genealogical and material connections will be explored at the inaugural 2011 Māori and Pacific Textile… Read more »

Documenting Samoan to’i ma’a (stone adzes)

Roger Rasmussen, 2009

Since 2009, Roger Rasmussen, alongside his role as a Te Papa host, has vounteered to re-house, measure and photograph a collection of to’i ma’a (stone adze)  from Samoa which were gifted to the museum by Rhys Richards in 1991. Because of Roger’s important work, the images of the collection are now available for viewing on Collections Online. In May last… Read more »