JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 161 to 173)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 161 to 173)

USE OF A PRESSURE-SENSITIVE ADHESIVE TO FACILITATE THE TRANSFER OF A SEVERELY TENTED PAINTING

GIANFRANCO POCOBENE, & IAN HODKINSON


ABSTRACT—This paper describes the conservation and restoration of a late 19th-century oil on canvas that was badly damaged in a flood. The portrait of the Rev. Professor James Williamson was painted by William Sawyer in 1887. Water damage left much of the painting with severe, complex tenting patterns and in an extremely brittle, perilous condition. The materials and construction of the painting—a tightly woven canvas, a discrete glue size layer, and a thin and brittle ground and paint film—all contributed to the severity of the damage. A description of the mechanisms that cause tenting and flaking of the image layers away from the canvas is also given.The multiple problems of severely distorted paint film and irreversibly shrunken canvas support led to the discarding of traditional conservation approaches and the development of a novel treatment procedure. Essential to the success of the procedure was the use of an acrylic pressure–sensitive adhesive dispersion (Rhoplex N-580). The tented and detached paint and ground layers were secured with Japanese paper (tengujo) using this adhesive in a modified facing procedure. After further consolidation, the original canvas support was removed, and the paint layers were returned back to plane without overlap on the vacuum hot table. The treatment was completed with the reattachment of the paint layers to a new support, varnish removal, and final retouching.

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. PAINTING STRUCTURE AND CONDITION
3. FABRIC SHRINKAGE IN HIGH MOISTURE LEVELS
4. THE ROLE OF THE GLUE SIZE LAYER
5. PATTERNS OF DAMAGE IN THE SAWYER PAINTING
6. CONSERVATION TREATMENT
7. FACING PROCEDURE
8. CANVAS REMOVAL AND MANIPULATION OF TENTED PAINT BACK TO PLANE
9. TRANSFER ONTO NEW SEMI-RIGID SUPPORT
10. REMOVAL OF FACINGS, PRESSURE-SENSITIVE ADHESIVE, AND VARNISH
11. RESTORATION
12. CONCLUSIONS
a: Notes , Materials , References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 1992 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works