TREATMENT OF AN AMERICAN 19TH-CENTURY UPHOLSTERED CHAIR
CECELIA CHEWNING, & HAROLD F. MAILAND
The final result was a printed fabric insert that successfully simulated the original fabric on the chair in both color and design. Although the surface of the printed knit underlayment does not have the same texture, nor does it reflect light in the same manner, the difference is not enough to detract noticeably from the finished piece. The inserts do not cause trauma to the original fabric. The stitches used to stabilize the loss areas and fraying are minimal and can be reversed easily. Furthermore, the condition and wear of the original upholstery fabric is visible upon close examination. This aspect is important to curators, historians, and conservators who want to keep the construction, use, and treatment discernible in an object. The chair is now structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.
The above treatments provide the Cincinnati Art Museum with more options for exhibiting the Mitchell and Rammelsberg parlor suite. The remaining pieces could be treated in a similar manner. In addition, fabric yardage could be silk screened and used to slipcover the suite. This possibility would involve minimum intervention to the structure while protecting the original surfaces.
Ms. Chewning would like to thank the following people for comments on the museum's jacquard textile and for general assistance with the project: Regina Blaszczyk, Katherine C. Grier, Lynn Felsher (Fashion Institute of Technology), Gillian Moss (Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design), Linda Parry (Victoria and Albert Museum), and Odile Valansot (Center International D'Etude des Textiles Anciens, (CIETA)). Mr. Mailand would like to acknowledge the following staff members of Textile Conservation Services for their inspirational, technical, and editorial assistance, respectively: Maebel Danneman, Anne McKenzie Nickolson, and Mary Annette McLeroy. The authors also acknowledge the assistance of Michael J. Ruzga, assistant conservator, Cincinnati Art Museum, who performed the fiber analysis.