‘Beware the agents!’

One of the most threatening ‘agents of deterioration’ for a painting is incorrect Room Humidity. If the RH is too high, it can cause a dramatic effect to the canvas, and can cause it to deform or sag at the bottom. (No-one wants a saggy bottom…) This can also contribute to the corrosion of metalwork such as hanging chains, nails and hooks.
If the RH is too low, the canvas can shrink and cause the painting surface to crack, so you can imagine how a painting can be easily damaged by being kept at different RH levels as the organic elements try to cope with the changes. This was evident on closer inspection of the Jesuit Church painting, but nothing to be too concerned with. Phew. The frame had an extra inspection when put back together, as a piece of the frame moulding had detached and is getting a cunning repair. This is done by taking a cast of the intact design in clay, and making a replacement using a secret recipe. All in all a fascinating inspection, trying to guess the ‘what when & why’ of every blemish – if only paintings could talk!

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About arlingtoncourtblog

Welcome to my blog! I've been keeping it to document my training as a Conservation Assistant for the National Trust at Dyrham Park. View all posts by arlingtoncourtblog

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