cONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF COLLECTIONS

 

Environmental control

Avoiding deterioration by eliminating its cause is more effective and less expensive in the long run than repair. No single type of material is stable under all conditions and among other factors humidity and temperature have a profound effect on stability. Conflicts inevitably arise between the levels of light which the viewer finds satisfactory and that which is damaging. For a mixed collection the choice will have to be a compromise and the optimum environmental conditions designed for each situation. Our laboratory offers an advisory service on enviromental control, which is increasingly in demand.

Environmental control web info: http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys

 

 

Care of collections

Conservation and Technical Services is responsible for the safe storage of several important collections. Among these is the Sevso Silver, a large Roman silver treasure, dating from A.D. 350 to 450, which was put on public exhibition in London in October 2007, providing a rare opportunity to see one of the finest collections of ancient Roman silver ever found.   The most stunning characteristic of the sevso treasure is the sheer size of the individual articles and the treasure as a whole weighs over 30, 000 g. The largest object is the Achilles plate which has a diameter of 72 cms, the Hunting plate measures 70.5 cms, the Meleager plate 69.4 cms and the Geometric Niello Plate 64.2 cms. Very few Roman silver objects of this size are known. The Mildenhall great dish in the British Museum has a diameter of 60.5 cms and the Kaiseraugst Plate in the kaiseraugst Museum in Switzerland which is the closest parallel for the Hunting plate is 59 cms in diameter.

 

CTS undertook the conservation and analysis of the 14 richly decorated silver objects and the copper cauldron that comprise the treasure and have been responsible for the care of this collection since 1989. They ensure its safe packing, handling, mounting for display and general safety while on exhibition.

 

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Condition Reports

Detailed assessments of the condition of items, with written recommendations on their proper care and preservation.

 

Photographic Documentation
Detailed photography and video recording provides a visual record for use in inventories.

 

Treatment Proposals

Written specification on the methods and materials necessary for the conservation of objects.


Data base
Recording the objects in a collection and storing the data so that the records can easily be retrieved becomes an essential tool for those responsible for the collections of art and archaeology.

 

 

Conservation and Technical Services acting in conjunction with Halahan and Associates undertook a survey of the collection held in store at the Design Museum. The project brief included the assessment of the environmental conditions for the purposes of evaluating long term conservation requirements for the very diverse materials housed in the collection.

 

 

 

Project management

On 30 August 1989, Uppark, an 18th century house on the West Sussex Downs in England was severely damaged by fire.

Anna Bennett was appointed Project Coordinator for the restoration with the brief to return the house to its appearance the night before the fire.
While some of the more portable objects were successfully rescued the night of the fire and only required minor studio conservation, others such as the original 18th century silk curtains, the gilt bronze lanterns, the scagliola tables and the larger pier glasses required extensive restoration and in some cases replication. Where items were irrevocably damaged or lost, new fittings were commissioned using the same materials and techniques as the originals. The only exception was the mirror glass which could not be satisfactorily replicated and which was purchased through the antiques trade and cut to size. The return of the contents to their original positions in the house was masterminded with military position and the old and new were carefully interwoven to achieve a seamless repair. The full recording and detailing of the materials and the methods used in the conservation and replication was an essential part of the contract.

 


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