Tag: conservation

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Preparation of three 14th century gravestones for a display at the National Museum of Oman

Shaykh Mohammad’s gravestone (Mus. number A.5-1932) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A while ago, I was asked to assess the condition of three 14th century gravestones, which have since travelled to a newly built National Museum of Oman in Muscat. The gravestones are beautiful in themselves, but they also tell a very interesting story about trade in the Indian Ocean. They were carved at Khambhat in Gujarat from […]

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Clothworkers’ Fellowship

The author examining carpets in store at Blythe House

Frances Hartog, Senior Textile Conservator In the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection there is a core of 124 carpets that were on semi-open display for several decades in the Textile Study galleries. Many have a grey cast of surface soiling commonly found on textiles that have been exhibited uncased for several years and will require […]

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Conservation of a De Haviland Aviation Drop Tank

The De Haviland Museum Trust have generously loaned an auxiliary aviation ‘drop tank’ – a supplementary fuel tank carried by aircraft.  This object will feature in our forthcoming exhibition Plywood: Material of the Modern World, 15 July – 12 November 2017. Drop tanks were developed to extend the operational capacity of fighter aircraft and bombers. These […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 2

Figure 1: Three paint samples from the Angel embedded in polyester resin and polished as cross sections.

  This series of blog entries is about the scientific examination of the gold finish of the Spirit of Gaiety, the angel which once graced the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London. Optical Microscopy A few days ago I outlined the reasons why we are investigating the gilding of the Gaiety Angel. Here is […]

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The Guardian Angel of Theatreland: A History of the Spirit of Gaiety

Figure 1 - The Spirit of Gaiety, Hibbert C. Binney, 1904. Museum no. S.2630-1996.

As a team of conservators begin work on restoring the Spirit of Gaiety statue on display at the V&A Museum, Rosie Vizor from the Department of Theatre and Performance uncovers the history of the statue and the theatre on which she stood. The magnificent Spirit of Gaiety statue has been in the care of the […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 1

Figure 1 - The Spirit of Gaiety, Hibbert C. Binney, 1904. Museum no. S.2630-1996.

Many of you may have had a glimpse of the Spirit of Gaiety statue from the Painting Galleries (Figure 1): it is a very large, carved and gilded angel blowing a trumpet, originally designed for the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London and erected there in 1904 (Figure 2). Although any visitor can view […]

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Identification of plastics by looking, touching and smelling

Example of groups of plastics made from melamine formaldehyde and cellulose nitrate

Carien van Aubel Conservation Science intern, University of Amsterdam   Collections with objects dating from the late-nineteenth-century onwards often include a variety of plastics. As there are numerous different types of plastics it would be hoped that specific identification would be stated in the records but it is not easy for those not experienced with […]

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Mounting Opus: an in–house solution

The Butler Bowden Cope, T.36-1955, on display in the exhibition

Thomas Salt, Museum Technician Frances Hartog, Senior Textile Conservator The Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition ‘Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery’, held from 1 October 2016 to 5 February 2017, is the first time in two generations that so many of these exquisite embroideries have been brought together for display. To ensure the safety […]

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Out on a Limb: the Fosshape revolution

Figure 4. Swinging London display front view

Lara Flecker, Senior Textile Conservation Display Specialist Rachael Lee, Textile Conservation Display Specialist   The costume mounting team were recently tasked with recreating the fun, free-spirited essence of the fashion and stage clothing of the late 1960s and early ’70s for the V&A 2016 exhibition ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’. […]

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The use of lasers in the conservation of museum objects made from plastics

The surface of polystyrene under the optical microscope exposed to different conditions

Dafni Daskalaki-Mountanou, MSc student Imperial College / V&A The predominance of polymers in everyday life is obvious. They have become an integral part not only of everyday objects but of cultural heritage objects as well. A survey held in the 1990s at the Victoria and Albert Museum showed that large numbers of artefacts were partly […]

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