In the afterglow
The Gilding Conservation Symposium established my reputation in the conservation world with new opportunities coming my way. In the years to follow, I was invited more often to work on priceless objects housed in major museum collections.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
In 1990 I was recommended by Gregory J. Landrey of The Winterthur Museum's furniture conservation laboratory (and member of the GCS Planning Committee) to Lynne Dakin Hastings, site manager of Hampton House National Historic Site. As I came to appreciate, Lynne was an exceptional and exceptionally caring site manager who wanted the best possible conservation treatment for Hampton House's important 19th century painted and gilded furniture. Original receipts in the site's archives revealed that the owners had commissioned John and Hugh Finlay of Baltimore, Maryland to make a set of side and arm chairs, a sofa, and both center and pier tables which had been in the house from the day of their delivery.
- Microscopic Analysis of Painted + Gilded Coatings
- In Studio Treatment of Painted + Gilded Wood
- Photographic + Written Documentation
FINLAY BROTHERS FURNITURE SUITE
In accepting this job, I benefited from the skill of Winterthur conservation program intern, Laurie German who worked on the project with my team, as well as from my collaboration with the museum's highly skilled and knowledgeable conservation staff who helped me analyze cross sections of the surface coatings to arrive at the best treatment for this rare collection. In the world of furniture conservation, this treatment was akin to restoring a priceless painting; there was no room for mistakes.
Once analyzed, the surface was stabilized and cleaned with complete respect for the original painting and gilding which was 99% intact with no visible repairs. There was very-little-to-no need to add new gold leaf or paint to complete any of the designs. As such, it was a relatively "pure" and very satisfying conservation treatment.
Later Lynne and I lectured about our collaboration on this treatment before the Painted Wood Symposium at Colonial Williamsburg in 1994 with our paper published in the conference proceedings.