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Subject: Fire damaged paintings

Fire damaged paintings

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh>
Date: Monday, April 30, 2001
Dennis A. Baltuskonis <dbaltusk [at] trinity__edu> writes

>Does anyone know of any research which has been published on general
>cleaning treatments for fire damaged, heat scorched, soot covered
>paintings? Over the past ten years I've treated numerous paintings
>which 'appear' to have minor damage, but are extremely problematic
>to even clean.

I have had the same kind of experience even with ceramics in
fires--that one object, or part of one object, can come clean with a
mild detergent, while others require solvents, bleach, or very hard
scrubbing.  And this is with objects that themselves should not be
expected to be affected by heat! I believe the problem is that the
heat from fires creates strong air currents that create large
differences between areas in terms of temperature and the content of
the soot.  If an object is over a piece of upholstered furniture,
the soot could contain fumes from melted foam rubber, for example.
Obviously, the temperature may affect the porosity of surfaces or
soften them so that soot is incorporated.  The people who have done
controlled burns for the purpose of teaching disaster recovery
methods have had a great deal of experience in seeing the unevenness
of damage from a fire.  I suggest you talk to them.   They may have
other theories about this.

B.Appelbaum


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:58
                   Distributed: Tuesday, May 1, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-58-004
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Received on Monday, 30 April, 2001

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