‘Black Cat’ naive ship painting – conservation & cleaning
Conservation & restoration of 19th century watercolour in original frame:
Description ‘Black Cat’ naive ship painting
Materials original gilt frame. Watercolour wash / ink painting on rag paper
Title and signature in ink. Old label on frame verso
Dimensions frame: 530 x 685 x 28 mm Picture: 450 x 525 mm
Frame: in reasonable condition; slight scratches to moulding / some loss, mainly to corners. Unsuitable degraded inner framing materials.
Painting: lying on degraded hardboard / touching glass. Slight surface dirt / significant acidity. Severe brown discolouration on back caused by unsuitable environment and sellotape; also resulting in ‘foxing’ throughout front image, particularly invasive / distracting on sails. Actual image is generally in fair condition although moderately faded
Picture: Dismantle from framing materials; save frame label. Surface clean both sides of painting. Implement tests to assess paper substrate / pigments / inks: pH4 / fixed watercolour / inks for cleaning work. It was not possible to carry out localised cleaning on sails; to avoid tidelines & stabilise – reduce staining on whole area focusing on sails and back of picture. Deacidify & stabilise paper to pH7. Support edge damage / press between blotters for several weeks. Attach concealed tabs and microchamber 1 ply inlay support.
Note: all has been implemented in terms of conservation methods and materials to prevent foxing returning; however, there is a slight chance it could return in the future.
Frame: Surface clean / refurbish frame including strengthening corners. Seal in new UV filter museum glass to prevent further fading of pigments. Attach obeche spacers lined with I ply microchamber board to separate picture from glass. Secure into original frame. Provision of museum board support / new backboard / dust seals. Reattach label to verso.