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IR Photography An unexpected bonus to this project was performing infrared (IR) photography of the box.To accomplish this task, light sources emitting infrared wavelengths were used to illuminate the object, and a modified digital camera was used to capture the image.This adhesive works well with natural materials like the ones found on the dance card box.Using a fine brush, I applied the adhesive to losses and cracks several times in order to stabilize the paint layers. Once the paint was consolidated and stabilized, I prepared for one of my favorite treatment steps, inpainting.For this particular box, there were local areas of unstable paint and scattered losses to the paint, varnish, and ground layers.Additionally, the losses detracted from the overall design and distracted the viewer from the artist’s intent.
With any treatment, conservators aim to use materials that are inherently stable and can be removed safely from the object without causing any alteration to the original artifact.Considering the box is approximately 200 years old, it is in great condition.The damages were likely caused by environmental fluctuations and the natural aging of the materials: Wood can expand and contract as it absorbs or loses moisture from the air.The exterior was decorated by the artist with a ground layer and paint layer, then finished with a layer of natural varnish.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to conserve the dance card box for the exhibit . It encompasses examination, documentation, material testing, scientific analysis, treatment, condition assessment, ethical considerations, and curatorial input.
I started my examination of the object with before-treatment photographs and documentation of the the pre-treatment condition in a report.