20th C Wood Polychrome Relief, Treated 2022

Conservation treatments were carried out to stabilise the object and determine the causes of the extensive flaking.

Scientific analysis included UV-Vis examination, cross-sections, dispersions, microscopy, microchemical testing and FTIR.

Treatments included removal of the dark coating, which was found to be burnt umber in gum Arabic and removal of a second wax coating – used to make the object appear ‘aged’. Extensive consolidation of both paint flakes and the wood substrate were also carried out. Once the object was stable, cosmetic retouching was carried out to create a more cohesive appearance.

Interestingly, this object was brought to me as an 18th C polychromed wood carving, however analysis showed the presence of Alkyd paints, suggesting it to be early-mid 20th C.

Front, Before and After Treatment, 2022
Example of 14th Century French Ivory Casket depicting ‘The Assault on the Castle of Love’ (Cherry, 1991), and similarities with object
Front, Before and After Retouching
Front, Before and After Treatment