Other Related Materials

Case Study: Plaster Maquette of Joseph Priestly

A painted plaster maquette of Joseph Priestly 1733-1804.
1761-1767 Priestly was a tutor at Warrington Academy. He began his research on gases whilst at the Academy, which lead to his discovery of oxygen in 1774.

The surface was cleaned with Smoke Sponge.

All fugitive and lifting areas of surface decoration were consolidated with a 10% solution of Paraloid B72 in acetone.
In-filling/Reconstruction of Missing Areas
Having obtained detailed photographic evidence from the full scale sculpture of Priestly that is displayed in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, it was possible to accurately reconstruct the missing hand, cuff and lens of the right arm (within the aesthetic constraints of the maquette). The hand was remodeled separately; a small stainless steel dowel connected the stump of the arm and the new hand and was secured/tacked into position and then the cuff was then reconstructed in-situ. These areas, along with areas to: the nose, several edges of the coat and waistcoat, and edges of the plinth were reconstructed with Polyfilla. Filled and remodelled areas were consolidated with a 10% solution of Paraloid B72 in acetone in preparation for retouching. The hand was remodeled using images taken from the full size sculpture. Once modeled, it was retouched. Then it was attached and the cuff modeled in-situ.

Remodeled areas and missing areas of decoration were retouched and toned with various combinations of Rustin’s Quick Drying Water-Borne Ceramic Glaze with various additions of Artist’s Dry Powder Pigments and Graphite Powder.

Protective Coating
A thin protective coating of Renaissance Wax was brushed onto the surface and buffed with a lint free cloth.

(images reproduces courtesy of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery)

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Case Study: Marble Bust of Homer

Structurally, the bust was in very good condition although it was very dirty. Several chips and pits were present to the form and these were ingrained with dirt. The bottom edge of the robe was particularly worn. Pencil graffiti was present to: the head, eyes, nose, below the mouth, beard, the upper chest, a lower left hand section of the robe, the back of the robe and the column attaching the bust to the socle.

Surface dirt was loosened with a weak solution of Synperonic A7 (non-ionic detergent) in deionised water, applied by stencil brush. Then, the surface was swab cleaned with deionised water only, followed by steam cleaning with a Derotor Steam Cleaner GV. Once dry, a thin protective coating of Renaissance Wax was applied to the surface. The bust was then secured to its socle. Care was taken to apply just enough bond mixture to secure the bust in place without causing any excess at its join line to the socle. When the bust was in place it was clear to see how well this sculpture had been executed; weight distribution of the bust and the angle/position of the pin enabled optimum alignment and anchorage between the two elements. The brackets securing the socle to the plinth were retouched with acrylic paints.

The display plinth and brackets were designed, manufactured and finished by Museum Exhibition Services who also installed the bust.

(Images reproduced courtesy of Victoria Gallery & Museum, Univeristy of Liverpool)

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Case Study: C20th Plaster & Resin Trophy from Merchant Taylors Girl School, Crosby, Liverpool

The figure was detached from the base by cutting through the screw thread that loosely attached it to the plinth. The surface was then cleaned with Smoke Sponge.
All chipped areas and several running cracks were consolidated with a 10% solution of Paraloid B72 in acetone.
In-filling Missing Areas:
Missing areas were firstly filled with Polyfilla to form a core. Then an epoxy coloured paste made up of Hxtal NYL-1, Cab-O-Sil ® and Artist’s Dry Powder Pigments was applied on top. Once cured, after 7 days, the fills were refined and polished with various grades of Micro- Mesh™ .
The replicated surface was further retouched with Rowney Cryla Colour Acrylic Paints. Rustin’s Acrylic Water-Borne Ceramic Glaze was applied on top of the acrylic paint as a protective layer.
Protective Coating:
Finally, the whole surface of the figure was coated/brushed with a layer of Renaissance Wax, which, once dry was lightly polished with a dry cloth.

The silver plaque was polished

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Case Study: C20th Goblet from Merchant Taylors Girl School, Crosby, Liverpool

The surface was cleaned mechanically .                                                                                                              In-filling Missing Areas:
Coloured epoxy resin (Hxtal NYL-1 plus Tirantis Polyester Colours) was used to make up the missing areas of enamel. Once cured, after 7 days, this was refined and polished with various grades of Micro- Mesh™ . The surface was finished with a layer of Rustin’s Acrylic Water-Borne Ceramic Glaze and Artist’s Dry Powder Pigments which was again polished with various grades of Micro- Mesh™ and then Greygate Plastic Polish.
Protective Coating:
Finally, the metal surface was coated/brushed with a layer of Renaissance Wax., which, once dry was lightly polished with a dry cloth.

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Case Study: Sculpture of Christopher Bushell

Sculpture of Christopher Bushell, carved in Carrara marble by Albert Bruce-Joy, London. Completed in 1884. Height c213cms. Belonging to the collections of the Victoria Gallery and Museum, University of Liverpool.

Bushell (1810 – 87) was an educationist whose principal work was in the promotion and encouragement of elementary education. In this capacity, he was the first Chair of the Liverpool School Board. In 1880 he was appointed as one of eight of the first Trustees of the University College, Liverpool. In 1881 he was appointed Vice-President of the college. The sculpture was initially displayed in the Brown Library until the Victoria Building was completed in 1892. The sculpture remained in the entrance hall of the Victoria Building until the late 1960’s, where he originally stood on a red granite plinth/pedestal (now lost). It was then moved to the rear of Staff House, Abercromby Square, Liverpool, where it stayed until the mid 1970’s.

The standing figure of Christopher Bushell has his weight borne mainly on his left leg. His right leg is flexed at the knee and faces forwards. He looks contemplatively to the right and holds papers/a scroll in his right hand whilst his left is held in a relaxed attitude over his right wrist. He wears a frock coat, trousers and winged collared shirt with a tie. He has wide whiskers and his hair is parted and swept back away from his face. The figure stands before a fluted column, which rises to hip-height, on top of which there is a stack of three books. The base of the sculpture is signed towards the back of its left face, “ALBERT BRUCE-JOY SCt. LONDON”.

Previous Conservation Treatment
The sculpture was initially conserved in 1985. On acceptance of the sculpture, previous conservators found that its polished surface had “been washed away” due to prolonged exposure to external environmental conditions. There was also a build up of salt deposits to the face, neck, hands and areas protected by the arms and the frock coat. These deposits had not caused any exfoliation of the surface.
Documentation revealed that the sculpture had previously been cleaned by the application of Sepeolite, followed by use of fine air abrasive equipment where salt deposits were more stubborn. Once, cleaned, Microcrystalline Wax and Ketone ‘N’ resin had been applied as a barrier/protective coat to the surface. A substantial missing area to the nose was remodelled in polyester resin with ground alabaster and colour-matched to the adjacent marble.
Examination by EDGE Conservation also revealed that two small chips had been filled to the side of the coat below the left arm. Also, a small area to the panel below the crossed hands had been covered with tissue and colour-matched to the marble. When this was removed, it revealed dark, ingrained crossed-hatched markings.

Condition on Acceptance by EDGE Conservation
The sculpture had been crated in the entrance hall of the Victoria Building for several years during its refurbishment. In September 2009 it was de-crated and relocated to its present location within an alcove to the right of the entrance hall (when entering from the foyer). Although it had been crated, much dust ingress had occurred and, when revealed, the sculpture was found to be extremely dirty. Additionally, the re-modelled area to the nose, although structurally stable, was very yellow and discoloured.
There are inherent micro and medium levels of fissures and dry veins present and some areas of natural pitting across the whole form. Mechanical damage (missing areas/chips) was present to: the hem and front edge of the coat; the top edge of the left lapel; the front edges of the books; the thumb of the left hand; the cuff of the left sleeve, and the front top edge of the base of the fluted column. Much of the surface of the sculpture had a rough texture, whilst there was obvious evidence of extant Microcrystalline Wax to some areas, such as the underneath and front panel of the coat. Green residues were present to the curled edges of the scroll and the left front edge of the coat.

The sculpture was cleaned from the top – down. It was firstly cleaned with a soft bristle brush and a vacuum. Then, dirt was further removed with the use of Smoke Sponge. Throughout these phases of cleaning, it was possible to assess the stability of the marble; it was found to have a good degree of stability, with no evidence of salt promotion. Due to this stability, it was possible to undertake additional wet-cleaning. This initially involved agitating the ingrained dirt with a weak solution of Synperonic A7 in deionised water, applied by stencil brush, and then removing this with deionised water only on a natural sponge; any excess was ‘padded’ with white ‘non-peppering’ tissue. Final cleaning was undertaken with deionised water carefully administered with a Derotor Steam Cleaner GV. As certain sections were cleaned, others were protected with polythene to prevent ‘streaking’ by the water. It was important to attain consistent cleaning across the whole form and the level of which was agreed with the curator.

In-Filling Areas of Mechanical Damage
The missing areas/chips were filled using a coloured epoxy paste; a mix of Fynebond, Cab-O-Sil ® , Synthetic Onyx Powder, Marble Filler and Artist’s Dry Powder Pigments. The colour of the fills was taken to just a tone away from the colour of the marble. Once cured, after 48 hours, these fills were refined with a file and various grades of Micro- Mesh™.

Retouching and Finishing
The colour of the fills, the discoloured nose and the ingrained ‘graffiti –type’ markings beneath the hands were retouched and further toned with a mixture of Rustin’s Acrylic Water-Borne Ceramic Glaze, Golden Artist’s Colours (acrylic paints) and Artist’s Dry Powder Pigments.

Application of Protective Coating
Renaissance Wax Polish was applied to the whole surface with a brush. After a short period this was buffed with a lint-free cloth to an acceptable level of finish. Where necessary, a further layer of wax was applied and finished in a similar manner.

Images reproduced by permission of Victora Gallery & Museum

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