Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Gesso


From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Monday, September 23, 2002
Birgitte Speake <birgitte.speake [at] pitt-rivers-museum__oxford__ac__uk>

>Does anyone have any experience with securing lifting gesso and
>paint layers back onto a wooden substrate.  We have a number of
>wooden masks with large (1-2cm square) areas of lifting gesso. The
>gap between the lifted layer and the wood is in places as wide as
>2mm making simple consolidation inappropriate.

My own experience is with lifting gesso on illuminated mss. and on
Asian screens.

In either case, I use isinglass (from either sturgeon swim sounds or
catfish sounds), brushed in, or sprayed in (using an airbrush) while

If the gesso layer is thick, I may wick in some warm distilled water
to relax/soften it before applying the isinglass.

However, it is not clear from the question that the gesso in this
instance is a traditional gesso with a glue binder, or a clay with
paint on.  If the 'gesso' is clay with paint on, the lifting may be
a result of draws from the pigment binder, not due to separation of
a gesso binder from a wood substrate.

If that is the case, I would like to re-think my response.

Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217
503-735-3942  (phone/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:23
               Distributed: Wednesday, September 25, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-23-007
Received on Monday, 23 September, 2002

[Search all CoOL documents]