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6. Specialty Session [clear filter]
Thursday, May 31


(Wooden Artifacts) Inside the Frames of Stanford White: A Technical Study
Stanford White (1853-1906) is well-known as an architect at the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White in New York, where he was a partner from 1879 until his unexpected death in 1906. Although he was best known for his architectural work and interior designs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds over a dozen picture frames that were designed by White. A technical study of Stanford White frames in the Metropolitan’s collection was carried out by the author as part of an Annette de la Renta Junior Fellowship in the Department of Paintings Conservation. Seven frames, designed between 1889 and 1900, were examined using various analytical techniques, to complement existing studies which focus mainly on stylistic elements and on White’s professional relationships and collaborations. Just as his interior designs, White’s frame designs can be placed in the context of the late nineteenth-century Aesthetic Movement, which included an array of styles, resulting in highly artistic and aestheticized designs with a great variety of decorative elements. The frames were designed for specific paintings that were painted by White’s contemporaries, many of whom were his personal friends. White held close tabs on his frame designs, whether unique frames matching specific paintings or standard designs. Neither client nor frame maker was allowed to execute his frame or ornament designs without his permission. After his death the standard designs, documented with photographs, molds and samples, continued to be fabricated. Copies of his frames were made as well. His elaborate frame designs with distinctive, often architectural ornaments, are fascinating works of art that had not been extensively studied technically. This paper will present the results of the technical study. It will discuss observations about manufacturing processes, such as the use of joints associated with cabinetry and the use of copper wire in cast ornaments. Moreover, it will address the originality of the surfaces, such as the direct application of gilding on a wooden substrate, without a gesso preparation. The technical results are complemented with findings from archival research at the Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library (Columbia University), which holds correspondence on numerous of White’s projects. The interdisciplinary approach of technical and archival research is especially valuable whenever material aspects of the original frames are lost, covered or altered. This study has provided valuable insights in American frame making towards the end of the nineteenth century. As an architect and designer in America’s Gilded Age, Stanford White elevated frame making to a form of art. Examining the technical aspects of White’s frame designs also adds to the growing appreciation of frames as art objects in their own right.

avatar for Tess Graafland

Tess Graafland

Junior Conservator of Frames and Gilding, Rijksmuseum
Tess Graafland graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a Master degree and Professional Doctorate in Conservation and Restoration of Wood and Furniture in 2014. She took internships at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, in furniture... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Wooden Artifacts) A case study of the examination and conservation treatment of a mid-18th c. American made chair, and the processes of recreating missing carved elements using traditional methods.
In 1857, Thomas U. Walter designed the chairs and desks that would furnish the Hall of Representatives for the Thirty-fifth United States Congress. Designs for the chair were completed in the spring of 1857, and an order of 262 chairs was split between two separate manufactures. The deadline for the chairs was for December 1st 1857. The MFA, Boston acquired 1 of the 262 chairs in 1980. The armchair’s structure was stable, but the surface was in very poor condition and there was extensive loss of the decorative carved wood molding. The chair was missing molding on both front leg corners, and the entire length of molding under the proper left seat rail. The molding had a beveled edge design with a carved heart and dart pattern on the top surface. Due to the large quantity of the missing moldings, it was decided that fills would be carved from oak to match the surviving molding. In order to draft and carve the fills, an examination was carried out to understand the original methods used to make the chair. This included identifying which parts were machine-made verses handmade. During a visual examination, it became apparent that the chair’s frame was machine cut, and the decorative elements were hand carved. X-ray analysis confirmed that majority of the hand carved molding was simply glued to the main frame. This evidence supported the idea that the chair was part of an assembly line production system. Several attempts of the fills were made using different degrees of machine and hand tooling. Creating the fills using traditional methods proved to be very successful. It also revealed the skills and shortcuts of the original manufacturer. There was very little historical documentation about the chair in the museum records. However, it did state that the attributed maker was Bembé and Kimbel, a New York City based company. During the mid-18th c., the Bembé and Kimbel company was well establish and greatly acclaimed for their high quality of handmade furniture. Based on the evidence found during the chair’s initial examination, suspicion arose over the attributed maker of the chair. Further investigation lead to the second manufacturer that helped complete the large order of chairs. The Desk Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia was contracted to help fulfill half of the order. The company was commissioned because they advertised their fast, large scale machine manufacturing techniques. The evidence of the chair’s construction, as well as additional historical documentation, helped confirm that the MFA’s chair was made by The Desk Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia. This investigation of the materials helped reveal the methods and techniques of the original makers, and helped provide evidence towards the correct authentication. It also helped with the process of using traditional methods to create large fills. A full case study of the conservation treatment will be presented to discuss this investigation and the results of using traditional materials as part of the treatment.

avatar for Christine Storti

Christine Storti

Conservator, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Christine Schaette received her bachelor’s degree in furniture conservation from the University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany, in 2006. During this time she interned at the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. In... Read More →


Gordon Hanlon

Head of Furniture and Frame Conservation, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Gordon Hanlon joined the MFA as Head of Furniture and Frame Conservation in January 2000 after 12 years at the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. After receiving his BA in Biology from the University of York he studied first furniture making at the London College of Furniture followed... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Wooden Artifacts) Thomas Sheraton's "Red Oil"
Thomas Sheraton in The Cabinet Dictionary (1794) published a recipe for “red oil” that he recommended for use on mahogany. In 1996 the furniture lab at Peebles Island Conservation Center recreated red oil for use on a reproduction mahogany table. The table was a copy of the original and was placed in the same room with the same light exposure as the original table. This project was reported out to WAG in 1997 and again in 2011 as an example of how original finishes might have changed in appearance during the lifetime of the first owners.
In 2017 it was noticed that the cleaned surfaces of some 18th c. English chairs were remarkably like the available red oil sample boards from the 1996 project. With UV light and UV microscopy the similarity was also strong. Could the cleaned surfaces on the chairs be intact examples from the 18th c. of the use of Sheraton’s red oil?
As it worked out, new chairs were commissioned to round out the set of older English chairs. Since the evidence suggested that red oil was used as the original finish, Sheraton’s recipe was used on the new chairs. The result made it possible to compare the lurid appearance of brand new 18th c. chairs to their appearance after 250 years. More intriguing is that the red oil formula may contain a UV fluorescent ingredient that might make it possible to identify this finish in other situations.

avatar for David Bayne

David Bayne

Conservator, NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Since 1992 David Bayne has been the Furniture Conservator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites located at the Peebles Island Resource Center in Waterford New York. David graduated from Reed College with a degree in Biology in 1976. For the next 10 years he worked as a timber... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston
Friday, June 1


(Research and Technical Studies + Wooden Artifacts) All that Glitters: Visualizing and Characterizing Gold Leaf through Macro-XRF Scanning
The application of gold leaf is ubiquitous in late medieval painting, but our knowledge of how it was applied is based largely on historical treatises and modern practice. Analytical techniques traditionally applied to the study of historic works of art, such as X-radiography and point-analysis x-ray fluorescence (XRF), identify only the presence and elemental composition of the metal leaf at a single point, respectively. MA-XRF scanning has opened up a new avenue of research into the study of gilding materials and techniques by providing unprecedented new insight into visualizing the dimensions of individual gold leaves, differences in how the leaf was applied by various artists and workshops, and the variability of gold leaf alloy compositions available. In addition to elucidating the original artistic creative process, MA-XRF can identify and map restoration interventions using gold leaf, thereby providing new documentation of historic conservation or restoration efforts. Statistical measurement of the dimensions of individual gold leaves provides a new tool for supporting or refuting links between separated components of altarpieces. This poster presents the results of studies from a number of paintings and manuscript illuminations that demonstrate the ability of MA-XRF to elucidate new information about the composition of metal leaf, its application, and its past conservation.

avatar for Douglas MacLennan

Douglas MacLennan

Research Lab Associate, Getty Conservation Institute
Douglas MacLennan joined the Technical Studies research laboratory at the Getty Conservation Institute in 2016. His work focuses on the technical examination of works of art in collaboration with both conservators and curators. His research interests include the use of XRF and multispectral... Read More →

avatar for Nathan Daly

Nathan Daly

Postdoctoral Fellow, Getty Conservation Institute
avatar for Arlen Heginbotham

Arlen Heginbotham

Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, J. Paul Getty Museum
Arlen Heginbotham received his A.B. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his M.A. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College. He is currently Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Arlen’s research interests include the history... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Lee

Lynn Lee

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Lynn Lee received her PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California Berkeley. Her current areas of research include the study of traditional—especially those used in antiquities—and modern artist materials and techniques using non- or minimally invasive analytical... Read More →
avatar for Catherine Schmidt Patterson

Catherine Schmidt Patterson

Associate Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Catherine Schmidt Patterson received her PhD in physical chemistry at Northwestern University. Her primary areas of research are the use of non- or minimally invasive techniques such as Raman microspectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, technical imaging to study works of art... Read More →
avatar for Yvonne Szafran

Yvonne Szafran

Senior Conservator, J Paul Getty Museum
avatar for Karen Trentelman

Karen Trentelman

Senior Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Karen Trentelman is head of Technical Studies research, which focuses on the scientific study of works of art to further the understanding and preservation of these works in collaboration with conservators and curators. Current areas of interest include: revealing hidden layers in paintings and manuscripts using noninvasive spectro... Read More →
avatar for Nancy Turner

Nancy Turner

Conservator, J. Paul Getty Museum

Friday June 1, 2018 8:30am - 9:00am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Research and Technical Studies + Wooden Artifacts) A contribution toward the identification of wood by heart-cut pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry.
This paper presents a novel method for conducting wood identification based on chemical analysis using heart-cut pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (HC-Py-GC/MS) to analyze volatile fractions and thermal decomposition products from finely divided wood samples. This method has several advantages over traditional anatomical identification including a significantly reduced sample size (0.3 mg of powder vs. more than 40 mg for traditional thin anatomical sections), and increased ease of sampling. The method also shows promise for successfully discriminating between species that are not separable by anatomical methods. The use of an established analytical technique that is widely found in conservation science laboratories should make this method readily accessible to many researchers in the cultural heritage sector. The use of user-friendly and commercially available software for the evaluation of the GC/MS data also makes it possible to develop a reference database that can be easily shared and referenced by collaborating researchers. Evolved gas analysis (EGA) was used to establish an optimized furnace temperature that minimizes the production of compounds from the pyrolysis of cellulose and hemicellulose while maximizing the contribution of non-cellulosic components such as lignin and extractives, which are more likely to be characteristic of specific species. The use of a selective sampler system further reduces cellulosic contributions to the chromatograms by diverting evolved gases away from the GC column after 30 seconds of sample residence in the pyrolyzer. Results were interpreted through comparison with reference standards utilizing F-Search from Frontier Laboratories, which is software commonly used for the identification of polymeric materials and additives in plastics. The software produces a weighted average of the mass spectra of all integrated components in a chromatogram (an INT-SUM spectrum), which can be matched against an established library of standards. Comparison of the chromatograms and statistical evaluation of the INT-SUM spectra by F-Search provided accurate results and eliminated the need for specific compound identification, thus rapidly increasing the speed of data interpretation. F-Search also allows for the exclusion of peaks, which is a feature used to eliminate problematic peaks produced by contaminants such as glues, varnishes or waxes. For this preliminary study, reference samples of 62 wood species commonly found in decorative arts collections were analyzed with the optimized HC-Py-GC/MS method. The resulting chromatograms and INT-SUM spectra were compiled in a reference library. The method was validated by analyzing samples taken from 17th – 19th century objects within the J. Paul Getty Museum collection and comparing the results to identifications made through traditional anatomical study. All of the samples were correctly identified through the combined use of the F-search ranking system and visual comparison of the chromatograms.

avatar for Arlen Heginbotham

Arlen Heginbotham

Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, J. Paul Getty Museum
Arlen Heginbotham received his A.B. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his M.A. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College. He is currently Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Arlen’s research interests include the history... Read More →

avatar for Jessica Chasen

Jessica Chasen

Assistant Conservator, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Jessica Chasen is an assistant conservator in Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Jessica earned an M.S. in Art Conservation from Winterthur / University of Delaware with a specialization in objects conservation and a minor in painted surfaces... Read More →
avatar for Michael R. Schilling

Michael R. Schilling

Senior Scientist, Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
Michael Schilling is head of Materials Characterization research at the Getty Conservation Institute, which focuses on development of analytical methods for studying classes of materials used by artists and conservators. He specializes in gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 9:00am - 9:30am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Research and Technical Studies + Wooden Artifacts) Interdisciplinary and Multi-Technique Study of Previous Conservation, Bending Media, and Pigments of a Painted Polychrome Coffin from the Late Period
This paper describes the scientific investigations of an Ancient Egyptian painted wooden coffin, dating back to late period (664-332 BC). The polychrome coffin was previously restored, and previous plaster fills obscured original surface. The focus of this study is to use a multi-analytical approach to map and identify the pigments used on a polychrome wooden coffin , as well as to provide a deeper understanding of the painting techniques, the condition of the object, identification of wood species, identification of insects founded inside coffin, previous conservation materials, ground layer and painted layer included in this study. Several analytical and observation methods were employed in the identification processes such as the Light optical microscopy (OM), X-ray fluorescence portable (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Moreover, the application of technical photography provided useful information about the spatial distribution of the surviving original pigments, in particular visible-induced luminescence, which played an important role to recognize spatial distribution of areas containing Egyptian blue, even if it is in traces or mixed with other pigments, the authors were significantly interested in mapping technical photography (TP) including IR false color with XRF results as a non destructive methods to identify coffin pigments. Red pigment identified as Cinnabar, and recorded as a rare pigment found in late period collections. Key words: painted wooden coffin; Multispectral imaging; XRF; wood identification; Cinnabar

avatar for M. Moustafa

M. Moustafa

Scientific Conservator, Grand Egyptian Museum
Licence in Archaeology from Cairo University, Faculty of Archeology, Conservation Departement , 2010 ,now he is master student specialized in conservation of wooden artifacts and working in his master about (Treatment and Conservation gilded and painted wooden artifacts with application... Read More →

avatar for Dr. Medhat Abdallah

Dr. Medhat Abdallah

Head, Wood Laboratory, Grand Egyptian Museum, Conservation Center, Ministry of Antiquities
Dr. Medhat abd allah abd elhamid, Director of Conservation for the Sqqara Collection, is a specialist in conservation of wooden artifacts. He has published many papers and posters in international periodicals and conferences and shared as an Egyptian expert in the joint conservation... Read More →
avatar for Ahmed Abdrabou

Ahmed Abdrabou

Conservator, Wood Laboratory, Grand Egyptian Museum, Conservation Center, Ministry of Antiquities
Ahmed Abdrabou is conservator at the Wood Laboratory, Grand Egyptian Museum, Conservation Centre (GEM.CC), Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt. Ahmed carried out several treatments on many museum objects, in particular the collection of King Tutankhamun. He is currently the head of documentation... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Hussein M. Kamal

Dr. Hussein M. Kamal

Technical Affairs, Grand Egyptian Museum, Conservation Center
Hussein M. Kamal, PhD in Conservation of Antiquities, is the General Director of Conservation Technical Affairs at the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egypt. He has published extensively in different conservation aspects and presented lots of issues in international conferences and congresses... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 9:30am - 10:00am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Research and Technical Studies + Wooden Artifacts) Another Look at Conserving a Japanned High Chest
A growing awareness of East Asian influence in our Western world has spurred a reconsideration of many of the rare American Japanned objects from the first half of the 18th century. Among these is a sometimes celebrated high chest in the Art Museums collection at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF). One of only about 15 such Japanned forms known, the bulk of the artistic merit of the cabinet lies in the decoration attributed to Robert Davis of Boston, around the 1730’s. Because the iconography of these—mainly Boston made—Japanned objects continues to be something of a mystery among many decorative arts scholars, the material make up has become the obvious necessary foundation to our understanding of such mannerist artistic expressions. In this paper the CWF high chest is presented with an eye toward understanding the original materials and design intent, as well as the reinterpretation of some of these lost and poorly restored elements. Like many of its cousins, this Japanned cabinet has seen several campaigns of restoration in its lifetime. With time, the raised ornament seems to have failed in many of these surfaces and the multiple restorations appear to have veered further from the maker’s vision with each campaign. Some attention will be paid to the choices of material and technique in the restorative process as well. The study and analyses that preceded the on-going treatment featured photography with visible light, ultra-violet, Infra-red, and x-ray. Analyses for materials identification featured X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, FTIR spectroscopy, SEM with EDX, and visible and fluorescence cross-section microscopy. Combining the findings from these analytical techniques has provided a fairly comprehensive picture of the materials in the surface decoration. They have also revealed a few surprises in makeup, as well as a much-needed road map for the treatment protocol. The project reflects a vital collaboration between the CWF Analytical Lab and Wood Artifacts Lab. Insights gleaned from this exploration and treatment will hopefully inspire other owners to reconsider their objects with the hope of new exhibits and a better understanding of interpretation.

avatar for Christopher Swan

Christopher Swan

Senior Conservator, Furniture, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Chris is a furniture and wooden artifacts Conservator at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia where he has been since February, 1999, and where he also completed his third-year graduate internship, and a Getty post-graduate internship from 1994-1996. In between positions... Read More →

avatar for Kirsten Moffitt-[PA]

Kirsten Moffitt-[PA]

Conservator & Materials Analyst, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Kirsten Travers Moffitt is a conservator of painted surfaces with a specialty in the microscopy and analysis of historic finishes. She received her B.F.A. in Fine Art from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1997, and spent the next eleven years working as a decorative... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Research and Technical Studies + Wooden Artifacts) Bringing back color: Retouching faded furniture with colored light
Throughout the centuries organic colorants, both from natural and synthetic origin, were used to stain wood. This application lead to vivid colored objects of which the wood texture is still visible. Colorants can be applied over the complete surface of an object or used especially for marquetry, resulting in multi-colored objects. In addition to the coloring of wood, the natural color of unstained wood plays also an important role in the overall appearance of furniture. The main disadvantage of the use of organic colorants is the fact that they can severely fade in time, this is also true for the natural color of wood. As a consequence, the original appearance is lost to such extent that many museum visitors are not even aware of the fact that numerous pieces of furniture were originally colored; the visitors appreciate the natural, discolored wood and knowledge of how these objects originally looked like is sometimes completely ignored. To obtain knowledge about the original appearance is a great challenge, and it is good to realize that we will never be able to get the ‘exact’ colors right. However, more insight is required to be able to come as close as possible to the original intention of the makers of these objects. To revive this knowledge is only possible with an integrated approach. With this presentation, this integrated approach will be discussed. The research involves chemical analysis of the faded material, which is a challenge on its own, to identify the colorants used. The next step is the study of historical recipes and the creation of reconstructions (small mock-ups) based on these recipes to obtain more knowledge of the range of colors possible with the materials used. Degradation research is carried out on some of these colorants to understand their behavior. Finally, faded pieces of furniture were retouched using colored light, projecting a computer image via a beamer on the object in which the faded colors were revived. Although a promising technique, with possibilities to show these original vibrant objects to a large audience, questions arise about the accuracy of the reconstructed colors and the possible change in artistic value. However, it stimulates the discussion between curators, conservators and scientists about the possibilities and limitation of this technique and how to present the objects to the museum audience. Two case studies will be discussed. A group of objects designed by the Dutch architect Piet Kramer in the 1930’s which were originally stained with brilliant synthetic dyes and are now heavily discolored were accurately examined and these results will be presented. In addition, preliminary results will be discussed about the retouching of a much more complicated 18th century commode created by Andries Bongen.

avatar for Prof. Dr. Maarten R. van Bommel

Prof. Dr. Maarten R. van Bommel

Professor of Conservation Science, University of Amsterdam, conservation and restoration of cultural heritage
Maarten van Bommel is professor of conservation science at the university of Amsterdam, were he held a position both at the faculty of Humanities and the faculty of Science. He is chair of the section conservation and restoration of cultural heritage were future conservators / restorers... Read More →

avatar for Federica van Adrichem

Federica van Adrichem

Trainee in conservation and restoration of cultural heritage, University of Amsterdam

Jaap Boonstra

Conservator wood and furniture, Amsterdam museum

Friday June 1, 2018 11:00am - 12:00pm
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston
Saturday, June 2


(Wooden Artifacts) The interdisciplinary approach in the conservation of wooden objects of the Museu do Ipiranga
A historical museum can contain in its collections infinite sources of research. The Museu do Ipiranga, administered by the University of São Paulo, has focus on the history of the Brazilian society with objects of personal use, furniture, documents, photographs and also paintings.  A vast collection of attractive wooden furniture draws attention to the quality and diversity of materials, and brings out an important history of material culture since 18th century. In 2012, a specific research line was created for the conservation of wooden furniture, with the objective of defining protocols and methodologies for documentation, conservation, packaging, transportation and restoration of these objects. The work counted with professionals of the conservation of painting, paper and metal and involvement of the areas of Chemistry, Physics and Biology. The university environment favored the involvement and availability of experts and students in researches of the objects collections, material on culture and characterization of materials. On this occasion, we present the research taken on six wooden objects, between 17th and 18th century: a bed (A); chairs ( B), (C) and (D); chest (E) and chest (F). The identification of the wood species by the macroscopic method of the wood anatomy and the characterization of the pigments were carried out using analytical techniques. The obtained results allowed to show important informations of the objects that are useful to guide the conservation actions and curatorship in the museum. In relation to the documentation, it was possible to relate the place of origin and the period of preparation of each object, according to the phytogeographic information of the wood species. The work was carried out by a Biologist anatomist of woods with the methodology of sampling defined in agreement with the experts of Conservation of the Museum. At this presentation, it also will be showed an innovative research of the history of use and demands of brazilian wood specimens, showing the paths and origins of these native materials until the 18th century. This methodology and research presented here will be extended to other collections of objects in wood and vegetable fibers as a tool for the preservation and understanding of the collections in the Museum.

avatar for Fabiola Zambrano Figueroa

Fabiola Zambrano Figueroa

Wood Conservator, Museu Paulista da Universidade de Sao Paulo
I have a degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo, and received a Masters in Civil Construction Materials at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo in 2010, with a specialization in Restoration and Conservation of Mobile Cultural Heritage... Read More →
avatar for Rogério Ricciluca Matiello Félix

Rogério Ricciluca Matiello Félix

Postgraduate Student, PPGHS-USP
Graduated in History from the University of São Paulo (2014). Postgraduate student (Masters) in Social History at the Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences (FFLCH) of the University of São Paulo (since 2015) under the supervision of Drs. Maria Aparecida de Menezes... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 10:00am - 10:30am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Wooden Artifacts) Reproducing decorative furniture inlay by digital means.
As the earlier specialized skills for making intricate inlay and marquetry become less practiced, digital cutting methods continue to develop and become more accessible. We incorporated three digital processes, waterjet, laser, and CNC, to reproduce small repeating inlay patterns on two pieces of mid-1880’s furniture. 
One furniture piece was an aesthetic style worktable made by George Schastey & Co., NY, for which multiple similar pieces of brass and zinc veneer, each about ½” x ¾” x 1 mm thick, were reproduced by waterjet. For the second furniture piece, a pair of Greco-Pompeian style piano stools made by Johnstone Norman & Co., London, four similar monograms were replicated, using CO2 laser to cut three densities of wood, and CNC milling for mother-of-pearl parts.
This is a broad description of the furniture and their conservation treatments, a comparison of the digital cutting processes, and an overview of basic terminology useful for collaborating with fabricators when similar projects are being considered.

avatar for Hugh Glover-[PA]

Hugh Glover-[PA]

Conservator, Williamstown Art Conservation Center
Glover has been the principle furniture and wood conservator at Williamstown Art Conservation Center since 1988.
avatar for Sarah Pike

Sarah Pike

Supplier/Service Provider, FreeFall Laser

Saturday June 2, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Wooden Artifacts) Tilia and Tilt-A-Jet: abrasive jet-machining towards the treatment and re-mounting of a Grinling Gibbons overmantel
A wooden overmantel by English master sculptor Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721) in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art was studied and treated in preparation for its exhibition in the museum’s British Galleries, the first time it will be on display in nearly a decade. The overmantel, an assemblage of limewood carvings imitating flowers, fruits, and foliage, is part of a larger group of decorative carvings made in 1675-1677 for Cassiobury Park, the country house of the first Earl of Essex near London. Cassiobury is notable for being among the first historic homes in England to feature what would become Gibbons’ signature style of contrasting light-colored bare wood carvings nailed directly onto dark oak paneling, highly novel at the time. The goal of examination and treatment was to stabilize the overmantel for installation and to regain some of the surface qualities that made Gibbons’ carvings so innovative. Measuring nearly 8 ft2 when assembled, the large overmantel was in poor condition both structurally and superficially, in part due to its having been previously mounted onto a painted quarter-inch plywood backing. The old mounting system was visually distracting and the long, thin boards flexed during transport and installation, causing the sections of the limewood carving – some of which were only attached to one another by a single nail – to grind against one another. Moreover, installation required placing drills in between carved sections in a way described by one art handler as “terrifying.” The surface was darkened, unevenly glossy, grimy overall and featured multiple mismatched replacement pieces. Examination and research into the history of the carvings revealed multiple campaigns of coatings, strippings, and re-coatings, as well as at least one instance of complete disassembly and rearrangement of the individual sections. The treatment allowed conservators the opportunity to perform materials analysis on the carvings, including wood identification through cross-section analysis, and analysis of the coating layers through cross-section, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy paired with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). Treatment of the surface involved an overall cleaning and gloss reduction, while structural treatments included separating large swags into smaller sections, securing loose elements, consolidation, and the replacement of some missing parts of the carving. After the carvings were removed from their old mounts, a new mounting system was developed in collaboration with the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box] center at the campus of Case Western Reserve University. High-resolution images of the carvings’ versos were taken and used to create two-dimensional digital mount patterns in Adobe Illustrator. The authors trained with think[box] staff to operate the center’s new OMAX 5555 abrasive waterjet cutter to design and cut precisely-shaped mounts from 1/8th-inch thick aluminum. The new mounting system allows the large carvings to be more easily moved and installed and are nearly invisible to the viewer on display, permitting the work to regain its original, nailed-to-the-wall aesthetic.

avatar for Karen Bishop

Karen Bishop

Fellow, Garman Art Conservation Department State University of New York College at Buffalo
Karen Bishop is a second-year graduate fellow in Objects Conservation in the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Last summer, Karen was the Isobel Rutherford graduate objects conservation intern at the... Read More →
avatar for Mary Wilcop

Mary Wilcop

Fellow in Objects Conservation, Yale University Art Gallery
Mary Wilcop is the Fellow in Objects Conservation at the Yale University Art Gallery. She was previously a third-year graduate intern in Objects Conservation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Mary received her M.A./C.A.S. in Art Conservation... Read More →

avatar for Marcus Brathwaite

Marcus Brathwaite

Fabrication Manager, think[box]
Marcus Brathwaite, Fabrication Manager of think[box], graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2013 with a B.F.A. in Ceramics. He approaches the operations of a makerspace from the perspective of a designer. In collaboration with his team, machines, tools, spacial layout... Read More →
avatar for Beth Edelstein

Beth Edelstein

Conservator of Objects, Cleveland Museum of Art
Beth Edelstein is currently Conservator of Objects at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Previously, she was an Associate Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, focusing on the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Beth earned her M.A. from the Conservation Center, Institute... Read More →
avatar for Colleen E. Snyder

Colleen E. Snyder

Conservator, Cleveland Museum of Art
Colleen Snyder received her B.A. in Mediterranean Archaeology from the University at Buffalo and went on to complete her M.A. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College in 2008. Colleen is currently an Assistant Conservator of Objects at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 11:00am - 11:30am
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Wooden Artifacts) An Experimental and Practical Study of Some Gap-Fillers for wood and wooden antiquities
Experiments and tests have been conducted to test some gap-fillers to determine their suitability for restoration of archaeological wood, wooden objects, and decorated wooden antiquities (such as carved, incised, engraved, turned and paneled wooden antiquities and artifacts, which include furniture, sculpture, frames, iconostasis ...etc.). 1. The Tested Materials: The tested gap-filler includes several compounds of filler materials and binding materials: 1. Filler materials such as Calcium Carbonate powder, Zinc Oxide powder and Beech wood dust. 2. Binding materials such as animal glue, Arabic Gum, Poly Vinyl Acetate emulsion, Paraloid (Acryloid) B72, Primal AC 33, Araldite PY 1092 with hardener HY 1092, Silicons. The experiments have been applied to several decorated wood species such as Teak, Sidder, Pine and Beech. 2. The Testing Work: The testing includes studying the materials properties such as: 1. The handling behaviors during and after application such as easiness of preparation, easiness of shaping, ability of adherence to application tools, shape stability, setting time, shrinkage, cracking and changing in color after dryness. 2. The carving, cutting and sanding ability after dryness. 3. The painting, coloring & dyeing ability (with different sorts of colors and dyes such as watercolors, water dyes and alcohol dyes) before & after sanding. 4. The pH, weight and mechanical properties such as compression, tension and static bending (modulus of rupture and modulus of elasticity) before & after accelerated heat ageing. 5. The effects of the accelerated heat aging to the gap-filler and its properties such as mechanical properties and weight, as well as studying the changes to the tested materials regarding dehydration, cracking, brashness & fragileness, erosion & corrosion and changing in color. 3. Results and Conclusions: The best results were achieved using a gap-filler consists of “Beech wood dust as a filler, and Primal AC 33 as a binding material”, that appeared to be most useful for restoring the gaps, holes and cracks and for creating replacement for missing wooden details. This compound are almost neutral (pH = 6. 8 - 7.3 and became 6.6 – 6.9 after accelerated heat ageing that has been done at 110˚ for one month). It is also easy to be shaped, does not flow during application, good to be treated with tools as spatula and to hold a required shape. In the same time, it has good setting time (20-25 minutes); and when dry; it does not color, discolor or disfigure the wood in contact with it and easy to alter its appearance by carving, sanding and painting. It does not cracked or shrunk, does not discolor, it is easy to be compressed (1.900 (kPa) and became 1.800 (kPa) after accelerated heat ageing) and it is easy to be removed when required. The chosen gap-filler have been used in restoration of some wooden antiquities, filling of gaps holes and cracks and for creating replacement for missing wooden details. In this paper, the experimental work conducted with the complete results and examples of the practical applications will be described in details with comparative and analysis display.

avatar for Dr. Hany Hanna

Dr. Hany Hanna

Director General of Conservation, Helwan, El-Saf and Atfeh Sector, Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt.
I have: - Ph.D. Degree in conservation, (with the first class honor), in May 2003. - Master Science degree in conservation, (Grade Excellent), in May 1998. - Bachelor Degree in Theology, (Grade: Excellent), in May 1990. - Bachelor Degree in conservation, (Grade very good), in May... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 11:30am - 12:00pm
Kingwood Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Textiles + Wooden Artifacts) Sofa, So Good...Conservation of a Mid-19th Century Children's Sofa
The conservation treatment of a small mid-19th century sofa with horsehair upholstery has been performed in this project, with the primary goals of: stabilization, reduction of visual disruption from damage, and retention of original material. This has involved utilizing fill materials and repairs where possible in contrast to traditional reupholstering techniques. Secondary to these goals, analysis and imaging have been performed in order to more closely understand the materials involved in the construction of the sofa, its intended purpose (likely as a child’s plaything), and in hopes of uncovering some of its history and origin. Analytical techniques such as: transmission Fourier transform infrared microscopy, pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry, and polarized light microscopy have helped to reveal information about the sofa’s materials. Imaging techniques such as: X-radiography, long wave ultraviolet radiation induced visible fluorescence, reflected infrared imaging, and imaging using a scanning electron microscope were also useful in this fashion and provided insights into date of construction, period of use, and repair history. Keywords: Children’s furniture conservation, mid-19th century sofas, haircloth, horsehair upholstery

avatar for Daniel Kaping

Daniel Kaping

Graduate Intern in Objects Conservation, The Field Museum of Natural History
A third-year graduate student in the SUNY Buffalo State Art Conservation program specializing in objects conservation, Daniel is interested many types of materials. Drawn in particular to ethnographic, natural history, and archaeological collections, his current third year placement... Read More →

avatar for Jonathan Thornton

Jonathan Thornton

Conservation Professor, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department State University of New York College at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo State)
Jonathan Thornton has taught objects conservation at the Art Conservation Department since 1980. Following an earlier career as an artist/silversmith, he studied conservation in this department when it was still located in Cooperstown, NY, and received his M. A. and Certificate of... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
River Oaks Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Textiles + Wooden Artifacts) “A New Approach to an Old Problem: Comfort and Minimally Intrusive Upholstery”
In a museum setting, comfort is not a consideration in producing minimally intrusive upholstery. In fact, being uncomfortable guards against furniture use, particularly in a house museum setting. For private collectors who use their furniture in the home, however, this is unacceptable. For almost two decades, the standard approach has been to protect the fragile historic frame with a new, custom-fit, wooden, inner frame that can be upholstered instead to take the strain of traditional webbing, horsehair stuffing, and/or springs. This is more successful on larger furniture which can mask the weight and bulk of a supplementary frame and are often more deeply stuffed. Unfortunately, there have been few options for smaller furniture other than rigid plywood decks with a minimum of padding. Using a new technique, however, we have been able to apply a very conservative approach to delicate side chairs and reduce the number of fasteners and steps involved in producing remarkably comfortable upholstery compensation. This technique uses relief cuts in the thin plywood deck to create a spring effect which mimics the feel of traditional webbed upholstery. The impetus for this technique was the treatment of a set of twelve high-style dining chairs fabricated by Thomas Seymour in Boston c. 1810. These chairs were to be reupholstered with tufted leather seats and a stylish stitched French edge profile that was integral to their interpretation. This would be both labor-intensive and destructive to the frames in traditional upholstery. Adding a separate inner frame would protect the chair but make it heavy and even more costly. Instead a single layer plywood deck cut to be flexible in the center and accommodate the button ties was used to span over the seat rails. Using this new technique was simple, with the benefit of removing the strain and distortion often caused by taught webbing. The resulting conservation saved the client labor on each chair versus traditional upholstery, while also providing a comfortable, conservative, historically accurate compensation. The chairs have been in moderate use for over ten years now. A set of six Duncan Phyfe lotus-back dining chairs from about 1840 were conserved in our shop using the same technique. This set of curvilinear seats was able to be made functional using this technique in spite of the fact that the seat rails were so damaged from years of upholstery that the rails would have needed partial replacement to have been upholstered traditionally.

avatar for Chris Shelton-[PA]

Chris Shelton-[PA]

Principal, Robert Mussey Associates, Inc.
Chris Shelton received his graduate degree in conservation from the University of Delaware/Winterthur Art Conservation Program. He worked for Colonial Williamsburg and for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on their modern and European collections as well as for the Bayou Bend Collection... Read More →

Saturday June 2, 2018 2:30pm - 3:00pm
River Oaks Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston