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Framer & Fine Art Restorer to the National Trust

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Restoration Projects

In April 2014, Chaucers, in association with Niki Sealey, Fine Art Restoration and Conservation started a large restoration project at Stowe School, in the Deputy Head’s Study.

 

Eleven panels of decorative chinoiserie wallpaper circa 1780, are secured to the walls by adhesive onto the plaster. Each panel is manufactured from a backing of light open weave linen, followed by an organic size and adhesive, a thin layer of paper and a hand painted chinoiserie design with a painted background. The edges of each panel are secured with a thin gilt beaded frame that has been secured with panel pins directly into the wall. The condition of each panel is poor with signs that remedial retouching of the background has been undertaken.

Although there is no history on the origins or date of the pieces, by taking into consideration the history of other decorative artwork and artists that are displayed within the house, we are of the opinion that they are late 18th Century and of European origin. However it is noted in the publication “Evoking the Orient, Marble Hill House, Twickenham” that the more distinguished client would have employed a society decorator such as Thomas Bromwich who would arrange for the wall paper to be manufactured and hand painted in China and imported by the East India Company. In the 18th Century there was a fashion for Far Eastern styled ceramics and wallpaper, often used as a sign of opulence. Although there were imports from the Far East, often mistakenly thought as Japanese imports, undertaken by the East India Company along with their spices, many European artists were commissioned to replicate the ornate style for the gentry.

 

It was also a time of great natural history discovery, and prints and sketches provided the opportunity to illustrate the exotic birds and botanical species from far away locations.

Schedule of Work (in brief)

• Initial analysis of all pigments

 

• Initial surface cleaning of the background

 

• Consolidation of the structural layers of the linen, priming and pigments using conservation adhesive

 

• Consolidation and preservation of the watercolour and gum Arabic paintings using the findings from the initial analysis

 

• Using the paint analysis, retouch the cream tempura using a hand mixed paint compatible to the original

 

• Retouch the watercolour using hand mixed painted to the original recipe or compatible pigments

 

• Repair and retouch original beading

Pictures of work in progress

On completion of the restoration and conservation, tests for the stability of the panels will be finally undertaken to ensure the longevity and conservation of the project and any future maintenance outlined in detail.

 

Documentation, consisting of accurate pictorial and written records of all procedures carried out and the rationale behind them, will be presented to the Preservation Trust and can be accessed at any point during the restoration and conservation process. A copy will also remain with the conservator for future reference and guidance. All work undertaken is guaranteed to be reversible and with the outlined maintenance will be guaranteed for 10 years from date of completion.

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Before and after of restoration

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Example of Before Restoration

Example of After Restoration

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Completed work of restoration