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Subject: Conservation of mural paintings

Conservation of mural paintings

From: Tobit Curteis <tca>
Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2000
Patricia Gabriac <patricia.gabriac [at] wanadoo__fr> writes

>We are working on frescos of XVII century in a castle in France. The
>paintings are very stained and powdery (an effect due to the glue of
>wall papers). Does somebody know what we could use instead of
>Paraloid B72? Does somebody know about or have any experience with
>lime water?

Before choosing a consolidant (or any other conservation material
for that matter) you should step back and assess the criteria for
the treatment procedure involved. In other words, what is the
problem and what do you want your material to achieve. Paraloid B72
and limewater are completely different materials.Not only is one
organic and the other inorganic but they have different working
properties, application techniques, levels of
reversibility/re-treatability, effect on original materials and
levels of efficaciousness.

In order to choose a material for a particular treatment you need to
approach the problem in stages.

    1.  Look at present condition of the mural and identify causes
        of deterioration.

    2.  Identify original painting materials and technique with
        particular reference to vulnerable materials.

    3.  Assess the requirements of the treatment material you need
        (i.e. organic/ inorganic, reversible/ irreversible, aqueous
        based/ non aqueous etc etc)

    4.  Identify currently acceptable materials which match your

    5.  Check current literature if you are unfamiliar with
        particular materials (CHIN database is a good starting

6. Test materials.

This may seem longwinded, but it need not be. The main point is that
one should choose the properties of the material first and then find
a material to fit, not the other way around.

Tobit Curteis
Tobit Curteis Associates
36 Abbey Road
Cambridge CB5 8HQ
Fax: +44-1223-304190

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:47
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 14, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-47-009
Received on Wednesday, 8 March, 2000

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