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Friday, June 1 • 10:30am - 11:00am
(Paintings) Material Matters Research for Rare Wall Murals revealed at the Historic Sinclair Inn Museum

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In 2014 and 2016, Conservator Ann Shaftel enacted conservation treatment of recently discovered historic walls murals behind wallpaper at the 18th c. Sinclair Inn Museum, located in a former second floor function room. At least two layers of murals were found, the first comprising Masonic Lodge fluted columns painted in the four corners of the room, which may date to the late 18th or early 19th c. Subsequent layers of painting, done over the Masonic columns, comprise panoramic views on all four walls which appear to portray the Annapolis Basin in various scenes, together with a portrait of a man in Scottish military dress, believed to be painted in the 1830s or 1840s. Later painted details of Masonic iconography have also been identified. This room has written documentation as one of the oldest known Masonic meeting places in North America. In the Conservation Treatment of the fragile and unique wall murals, the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) was requested by the Annapolis Historical Association, the local community not-for-profit owner of the museum, to research and advise on the both the wall paintings and the historic structure that contain the paintings, prior to and during the work. Based on this research and conservation related advice, an understanding and appreciation of the properties of the materials of the building and its walls was developed which informed and guided the hands-on revealing and conservation treatment of the murals. Dating back to 1710, the building itself is the second oldest extant wood frame building in Nova Scotia and Canada, which is an open-concept museum today in which layers of history are revealed, with didactic labels, audio/visual interaction and local guides. The museum building itself is informed by materials and historic research. The conservation of the wall paintings was then prefaced by site visits, sampling and materials research carried out in the laboratory by Canadian Conservation Institute painting conservators and scientists, research that continued through the two years of the Conservator’s involvement in the hands-on process. Historic preservation specialists from CCI were twice invited to the site to research and advise on preservation measures for the building itself as well as for the murals once they were revealed. The range of materials research provided by CCI was augmented by simple on-site materials research undertaken by the conservator herself before and during the conservation treatment. Augmented chemical analysis on the wallpaper and pigments was provided by Saint Mary’s University Chemistry Department, for example the existence of arsenic in a wallpaper colour we were working with. This presentation demonstrates the vital importance of materials research for conservation treatment of multi-layered fragile wall paintings contained within an historic structure. Acknowledgements: Paul Marcon, Tom Strong, James Bourdeau, Jennifer Poulin, Elizabeth Moffatt, Dominique Duguay Report CCI 2015 Sinclair Inn Report 127794 Report CCI Final Technical Report Sinclair Inn 100351 Sinclair Inn Painted Room Report CCI 11-2011, Prof. Christa Brosseau, Department of Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University. 

avatar for John Ward

John Ward

Preservation Development Advisor, Heritage Interiors, Canadian Conservation Institute
John Ward is trained as a built heritage conservation architect who has worked with the Heritage Conservation Directorate, PWGSC, between 1996 and 2009, focusing on providing advice on federal heritage buildings including those on Parliament Hill, and since 2010 has been a Preservation... Read More →

avatar for Emma Claire Hartman

Emma Claire Hartman

Conservation Technician, The New York Public Library
Emma Hartman is currently a conservation technician at the New York Public Library. She has a BA in Chemistry and Art & the History of Art from Amherst College, and has held previous conservation internships at the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in private practice... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am MDT
Texas Ballroom A Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Paintings