Conservation and Restoration of an ebony and ormolu cabinet
Restoration of heat and sun damaged ebony veneered cabinet formally belonging to Ava Gardner.
The cabinet had been in centrally heated New York apartment for several years. The dry atmosphere had resulted in shrinkage and lifting of the brass inlays and marquetry. Some of the brasswork was damaged and some pieces were missing. Some brass stringing had previously replaced with wood strips painted gold. Some of the ebony veneers had buckled and lifted and some small pieces were missing. Pressure on the drop down flap had resulted in the flap being torn from its hinges and one hinge was damaged internally.
The item was dismantled including the interior to access the damaged hinge which was then repaired. The flap was repaired around the hinge sockets and the veneer relaid accordingly. The split in the flap was filled with a thin wooden fillet after the interior leather had been carefully pealed back, after which it was re-laid. Loose and bucked veneers were refitted where necessary and re-laid. Loose and buckled brass stringing and marquetry was similarly treated. Missing brass marquetry was cut from “half-hard” thin brass sheet and glued in and engraved to match the existing. Missing bird’s-eye-maple veneer from the interior was replaced and the interior drawers had their missing stops replaced. The carcase was then cleaned slightly and the sun damaged polish revived without damaging the patination. Repairs were coloured in where necessary. The ormolu mounts were cleaned to remove dirt without damaging the original gold surface. The item was then assembled. .