Figure with basket, About 1758-70. Museum no. C.156-1931

Figure with basket, About 1758-70. Museum no. C.156-1931

Glazed figures

Check figures carefully before cleaning to identify potential problems . Figures are particularly likely to have restorations that may not be immediately apparent, most commonly on hands, feet and bocage (modelled flowers, foliage and branches used as a background). The restorations on this soft paste porcelain figure, for example, include numerous leaf tips and flowers on the bocage, one finger, and chips on the hat that have been filled and retouched. The hat has also been rebonded and retouched.

Clean flat surfaces as for glazed earthenware. For intricate or delicate areas use a soft artist's paint brush (e.g. squirrel or sable, size 4-8). It is very easy to damage delicate areas, so it is better to avoid awkward parts rather than risk causing damage.


1. Wet the brush in a small container of warm water (add equivalent of one drop of detergent per litre of water)

2. Blot excess water from the brush onto clean absorbent paper to avoid drips

3. Brush a small area of the surface at a time, for example one flower or leaf on this soft paste figure at a time

4. Repeat until the surface is clean. Repeat steps 2-4 with clean water to remove detergent residues

5. Dry the brush on clean absorbent paper, and use it to pick up any water left on the surface