THE IN-SITU CONSERVATION TREATMENT OF A NINETEENTH-CENTURY FRENCH SCENIC WALLPAPER: LES PAYSAGES DE TÉLÉMAQUE DANS L'ILE DE CALYPSO
Doris A. Hamburg
A manuscript bill in the Jackson papers, Hermitage, TN 1/2/1836 indicates that the President first ordered three sets of the Telemachus wallpaper in 1836 from George W. South of Philadelphia at $40 per set. As the shipment was not received, a second order was placed with Robert Golder of Philadelphia, whose billing price was $29 per set (bill 10/25/1836). The variation in price is not understood at this time. (Catherine Lynn, Wallpaper in America (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1980), pp. 225, 505.)
The treatment proposal was designed by Anne F. Clapp, Print and Paper Conservator, Winterthur Museum. Treatment was carried out by Elizabeth H. Court, Doris A. Hamburg, Kristin Hoermann, Debbie Hess Norris, and Lois Olcott Price, with assistance from Christine King Young, Graduate Fellows in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program. Mildred B. McGehee, formerly Curator, the Hermitage, coordinated the project for the Ladies' Hermitage Association. Miss Clapp provided the fiber analysis and Donald K. Sebera, Conservation Scientist, Winterthur/University of Delaware Art Conservation Program analyzed the casein paint.
An earlier discussion of this project appeared in: Lois OlcottPrice and Elizabeth KaiserSchulte, “Conserving the Paper Stainers' Art: The In Situ Treatment of Two Historic Wallpapers,” Art Conservation Training Programs Conference (Cambridge, MA: Fogg Art Museum, 1979), pp. 5–24.
Lynn, Wallpaper, in America, pp. 503–4.
When printed the scenic wallpapers generally measured eight to ten feet high. Often they were trimmed at the top, in the sky area, to accomodate the dimensions or interior decor of the room. A light blue border currently hangs over the Telemachus wallpaper; it appears to have been installed when the wallpaper was treated in1930.
Paris, Musée des Art Decoratifs, Trois Siècles de Papiers Peints (Paris: Musée des Arts Decoratifs, 1967), p. 47.
Grant, Julius, Books and Documents: Dating, Permanence and Preservation (London: Grafton & Co., 1937), p. 16.
In addition to the conservators mentioned above, Caroline Keck, Professor, Cooperstown Graduate Programs, and Marilyn Kemp Weidner, currently Director, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, provided early assistance to the Hermitage in this project.
Sources for the materials were as follows: poly (vinyl acetate) emulsion Jade 403 obtained from TALAS, 140 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011; poly (vinyl acetate) resin AYAA (beads) manufactured by Union Carbide Corporation, Chemicals & Plastics Division, 270 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017; Methyl Cellulose Paste Powder marketed by Process Materials Corporation, 301 Veterans Boulevard, Rutherford, NJ 07070; Permalife paper obtained from Conservation Resources International, Inc., 1111 North Royal St., Alexandria, VA 22314; Liquitex acrylic polymer emulsion artists' colors marketed by Permanent Pigments, Inc., Cincinnati, OH 45212, available in artist supply stores.
A drop of Igepal CO-630 or Kodak Photo Flo 200 was added to approximately 300 ml distilled water. Occasionally a drop of ammonia was substituted for the wetting agent. Igepal is available from TALAS, 140 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011, and Kodak Photo Flo may be purchased in photo-supply stores.
This example of the Telemachus wallpaper is owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Boston, MA.