Monday, March 12, 2012
RLA Assistant Conservator Christina Varvi puts the finishing touches on the cleaning of a white marble sculpture.
RLA recently added to its growing list of post-fire recovery projects with the conservation of a collection of 23 severely soot damaged sculptures in a private Western Art Collection. Consisting primarily of wildlife and figurative works made of bronze, marble, silver, porcelain, geodes, the collection was badly soiled during an electrical fire in a kitchen that deposited thick soot onto all surfaces. RLA conservators performed the work on site in Texas, carrying out a multi-phase treatment that began with dry soot removal and continued with solvent, detergent and steam cleaning phases as needed.
Marble sculpture after initial cleaning tests.
Marble cleaning in process. The challenge in these treatments is to remove the soot without driving it into the pore structure.
Bronze sculpture with variable patina looks dull and incorrectly uniform due to soot accumulation.
Bronze sculpture after treatment. Note variation in color between areas of piece, visible only after soot removal.
Porcelain Mallard Before Treatment. Note severe discoloration on base portion due to soot ingrained in the porous surface.
Porcelain Mallard After Treatment.