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Subject: Consolidant


From: Alan Phenix <alan.phenix>
Date: Friday, November 19, 1999
We are advising on the possibilities for conservation of a severely
damaged modern painting.  The essence of the problem is that a thick
(> 400 micron) artist's priming layer composed of beeswax + titanium
white has acquired some major fractures and is delaminating over
substantial areas from an earlier priming of acrylic gesso..
Although some of the delaminations are greater than 10 x 10 cm, no
loss to the image layers has yet occurred. The support is canvas,
but access to the reverse of the canvas is  not possible.

We are presently considering possibilities for consolidants given
the following constraints:

    *   the consolidant must have affinity/good wetting to both wax
        and acrylic, and produce an adequate bond to both surfaces,

    *   the consolidant must be highly penetrating by capillary flow
        (ie. low viscosity, low surface tension),

    *   the consolidant must not require a solvent or diluent
        which affects the surface of the wax (which is exposed):
        the wax is sensitive to solvents over a wide range of
        polarity, from petroleum spirits to ethanol,

    *   we want to (have to!) avoid the use of heat,

    *   the consolidant must be reasonably stable.

Any ideas, suggestions or observations from similar experiences
would be most welcome.  Especially helpful would be observations on
the use of adhesives with wax-based objects from outside the field
of paintings conservation.

Alan Phenix
Lecturer, Dept. of Conservation & Technology
Courtauld Institute of Art
London WC2R 0RN

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:31
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 23, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-31-016
Received on Friday, 19 November, 1999

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