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The conservation scientists assemble their equipment; this is a complicated task involving the connection of many cables, applying weights to ensure the system is correctly balanced and calibrating the measurement heads.
The Molab team arrive and start X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction analysis on Maclise’s materials and techniques. The information sourced over the next four days will help confirm previous research undertaken by the Molab team in July.
Mr Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht launched the online resource on the Maclise Conservation Project in the Gallery today.
Varnish removal is almost halfway. Dirt and discoloured varnish has been removed improving the clarity of the painting.
The removal of the surface coatings continues. In order to reach the upper areas of the painting, conservators must carry out the work on scaffolding.
The results from the MOLAB analysis contribute to the treatment plan. Full varnish removal commences. The painting has a very uneven coating of discoloured varnish and scattered areas of discoloured retouchings that require removal. Due to the uneven surface texture of the paint layer this is a very time consuming process.
The front of the painting can now be treated. The facing tissue and varnish are removed from specific areas in preparation for further analysis by the MOLAB team.
The painting is secured on the new stretcher and is safely lifted to an upright position.
The new alluminium stretcher is assembled in the studio over the painting and the strip-lining is attached to the stretcher by way of a spring-loaded tensioning system.
The original tacking margins are coated with several layers of a reversible thermo-plastic adhesive to prepare them for the lining strips. The strips are prepared using a strong synthetic fabric and the same conservation adhesive. The strips are then adhered to the original tacking margins using heat and pressure. These materials are able to withstand large loads of sheer stress and so will cope well with the re-stretching and tensioning.
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