Chinese Diorama Depicting Lunar New Year

After some research we believe this to be an 18th century diorama from Macau, depicting the Lunar New Year. There is a considerable amount of dirt particulates over the shadow box and the diorama. Several of the people, houses, fencing, and other objects in the diorama have become detached due to a failed adhesive. Some pieces have completely fallen off and present a sort of jigsaw problem to figure out where they belong. The shadow box is comprised of wood that is dry and has lost its strength, and the top end that keeps the glass in place has degraded and is no longer stable. Early cleaning has had a big impact in part due to the age of the artwork and the amount of texture for the particulates to cling to. Stay tuned for more…

Tile Panel on Copper Mount

This project came in as a damaged copper mount, that had been used to showcase a tile panel, and replacement tiles from the same manufacturer as the original tiles. As you can see in the photographs, the panel suffered significant warping along one of the edges. Straightening it out was outsourced to a metal specialist. Only after that was it realized that the new tile panel has a slightly larger dimension and would not fit. A new copper panel was made to the correct specifications and the new tiles were put into place with a restorer’s adhesive. The original copper mount had a substantial bracket that allows it to securely attach to a  wall. This was transferred to the new copper mount.

The tiles are from Sant’ Anna in Lisbon, Portugal, established in 1741.

Eagle Sculpture With Links to HMHS Britannic

This eagle sculpture has quite the lore. Originally, it’s believed that it was going to be installed in a first class smoking room of the HMHS Britannic, a sister ship of the Olympic and the Titanic. However, the HMHS Britannic was refitted as a hospital ship for WWI and the sculpture ended up in a pub known was as the”Britannic Room.” Unfortunately, the HMHS Britannic was sunk in 1916 after reportedly hitting a mine. We don’t know for certain if the sculpture was ever installed on the HMHS Britannic: the ship was laid down in 1911 and launched in 1914 and completed in 1915.

The legend continues that in 2015 or so, the “Britannic Room,” was demolished; it was part of a hotel. And a worker with a keen eye pulled the sculpture from a dumpster. We have one photograph displaying the eagle intact–it is an old, low-resolution photograph without the eagle as the focal point, but our research is ongoing and we hope to find more clues.

We are in the process of putting together this “jigsaw puzzle,” and with further research we hope to find some evidence as for the exact composition whereby we’ll recreate the missing pieces, re-attach all parts, and then apply finishing colors to marry all of the sections together.

Only last year, the site of the sunk Britannic was opened up for divers. Daily Mail Article.

Stay tuned for more…

 

 

Christ Wooden Sculpture

This wooden sculpture of Jesus came in with several fingers that had detached, including a couple that were lost. Before it came to us a rudimentary attempt had been made to fix them. This effort was reversed. We then married the wooden pieces, to create a nice fit. A restorer’s compound reattached the fingers and allowed us, with some shaping, to replace the missing ones. They will continued to be shaped and then colored to match the original wood. There is a crack at the base, but this in character of the wood and will not be touched. Stay tuned for more…

Willam Aiken Walker Copper Plates in Custom Frames

Final steps to this project (Part1, Part2). A pair of new frames were made in a medley style, combining the strong border of the Louis XVI with the simple slope of the Low American Cove style. Picking up on the Americana of the South, the demi-centers received a basketweave design and the corners were accented with a sgraffito of cotton flowers with leafs. Treating all equal, man and woman alike, the two frames are identical, but with their own original charm that comes with anything done by hand. On the reverse, the copper plates came with their own harness system, and we incorporated it, securing it to the mount with wires in three places.

We’re a bit sad to see them leave, but are thrilled with how they turned out.

William Aiken Walker (1839-1921) was an American artist who was born to an Irish Protestant father and a mother of South Carolina background in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839.  In 1842, when his father died, Walker’s mother moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where they remained until returning to Charleston in 1848.

In 1861, during the American Civil War, Walker enlisted in the Confederate army and served under General Wade Hampton in the Hampton’s Legion.  He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (1862).  After recuperating, he was transferred back to Charleston, where he was assigned picket duty, which gave him time to paint.  For the next two years, he made maps and drawings of Charleston’s defenses.  He was separated from the military at the end of 1864.  After the Civil War, Walker moved to Baltimore, where he produced small paintings of the “Old South” to sell as tourist souvenirs.

He is best known for his paintings depicting the lives of poor black emancipated slaves, especially sharecroppers in the post-Reconstruction American South.  Two of his paintings were reproduced by Currier and Ives as chromolithographs.

Walker continued painting until his death on January 3, 1921 in Charleston, where he is buried in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery.

Taiwanese Eagle Sculpture

This eagle was carved from camphor wood, and it was made and purchased in Taiwan. We believe it to be from the 1950’s-1970’s. A previous restoration had reattached one of the wings, but this effort was starting to become loose.

Once the wing was detached, we removed the old glue and cleaned the area for our own repairs. Restorer’s adhesive rejoined the wing, and this was further strengthened with oak dowels and mahogany shins that were inserted and then carved to flush. The remaining gap in the attachment was filled with a restorer’s putty. Once it hardened we carved and sanded it down. Casein and acrylic paints were then used to match the finishing colors to the original, with shellac then used to seal the area.

We are going to be sad to see this sculpture head back home. It took every member of our team to accomplish this restoration, and we are quite happy with how it turned out.

William Aiken Walker Copper Plates

Beneath the years of dirt, and achieved with the fine brushstrokes of Walker (1839-1921), there was a remarkable amount of detail on these oil copper plates. Copper has always been a great preserver of oil paint, and we’re glad to say that was proven once again in this case. Cleaning was achieved through a gel system, due to the corrosive tendencies that normal cleaning solvents would have on copper. Custom frames will be prepared in the Louis XVI style embellished with basketweave demi-centers and sgraffito displayed in each corner as cotton flowers with leafs. The frames will be gilded and shadow box created to allow ample room for the copper plates to fit safely inside.

William Aiken Walker (1839-1921) was an American artist who was born to an Irish Protestant father and a mother of South Carolina background in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839.  In 1842, when his father died, Walker’s mother moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where they remained until returning to Charleston in 1848.

In 1861, during the American Civil War, Walker enlisted in the Confederate army and served under General Wade Hampton in the Hampton’s Legion.  He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (1862).  After recuperating, he was transferred back to Charleston, where he was assigned picket duty, which gave him time to paint.  For the next two years, he made maps and drawings of Charleston’s defenses.  He was separated from the military at the end of 1864.  After the Civil War, Walker moved to Baltimore, where he produced small paintings of the “Old South” to sell as tourist souvenirs.

He is best known for his paintings depicting the lives of poor black emancipated slaves, especially sharecroppers in the post-Reconstruction American South.  Two of his paintings were reproduced by Currier and Ives as chromolithographs.

Walker continued painting until his death on January 3, 1921 in Charleston, where he is buried in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery.

Pair of Copper Plates by William Aiken Walker

These two great pieces of Americana are oil paintings done on copper plates by the artist William Aiken Walker (1839 – 1921). Copper has always been a great preserver of oil paint, and we’re glad to say that the foundational aspects for these two works are rather good. It’s likely that they have never been varnished and, as you can imagine, they are quite covered with surface contaminates. And due to the nature of copper and how it can corrode when contacted with cleaning solvents, we’ll have to be gentle in our approach and use a gel system. We can’t wait to see the natural colors and the clarity of the details that are already quite impressive. Stay tuned for more…

William Aiken Walker (1839-1921) was an American artist who was born to an Irish Protestant father and a mother of South Carolina background in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839.  In 1842, when his father died, Walker’s mother moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where they remained until returning to Charleston in 1848.

In 1861, during the American Civil War, Walker enlisted in the Confederate army and served under General Wade Hampton in the Hampton’s Legion.  He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (1862).  After recuperating, he was transferred back to Charleston, where he was assigned picket duty, which gave him time to paint.  For the next two years, he made maps and drawings of Charleston’s defenses.  He was separated from the military at the end of 1864.  After the Civil War, Walker moved to Baltimore, where he produced small paintings of the “Old South” to sell as tourist souvenirs.

He is best known for his paintings depicting the lives of poor black emancipated slaves, especially sharecroppers in the post-Reconstruction American South.  Two of his paintings were reproduced by Currier and Ives as chromolithographs.

Walker continued painting until his death on January 3, 1921 in Charleston, where he is buried in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery.

Japanese Doll

This Japanese doll suffered from sun damage that had really effected the red colors making them a lighter shade. Adhering the kimono to the doll were pins, and to the pedestal were nails. There was also a stain on the pedestal.

The first approach to strengthen the color of the red fabric was less invasive and used dyes, but after tests it was determined this was not going to give the desired result. Period Japanese silk that was used for kimonos was then ordered from Japan. From the waist up all of the red fabric was replaced, and at the the bottom, where the kimono was attached to the pedestal by nails, it was determined that nail removal would be more damaging to the kimono than the fabric replacement, and therefore the original fabric was left.

The stain on the pedestal was tested with numerous solutions of different strengths. Unfortunately none of these was more effective than being able to lighten the color of the stain. In-painting was then used in the area to conceal the presence.

Tiger Stadium Peanut Vendor Apron

This is an apron from Tiger Stadium believed to have been worn by peanut vendors. Grease stains were along the front and part of the embroidery had been lost. We cleaned the apron and re-stitched some of lettering to match the original. Vintage postcards from Tiger Stadium were placed with the apron in a new maple shadow box frame with a fabric mount.