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

Subject: 16th century joiner's marks

16th century joiner's marks

From: Miguel Garcia <miguelalexgarcia>
Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Kate Lowry <kate.lowry [at] museumwales__ac__uk> writes

>I am looking at a 16th century painting on an oak panel consisting
>of six horizontal planks. One of the planks has some joiner's marks
>cut into it, which don't correspond to the adjacent plank. Four of
>the strokes are verticals but there is also a triangular mark
>pointing right. Does anyone have any information which could help to
>interpret these marks or explain their significance?

I also have a particular interest in all kinds of marks usually
found on the  back side of 16th and 17th century panels. I saw also
some unusual situations where these marks are not so understandable
on a first view, in Portugal.

There I saw some painted panels made on Baltic oak, from those
times, where gouge marks do not continue throughout from one board
to the adjacent ones. These marks are, most times, made by
lumberjacks when they are selecting and separating different quality
of boards. Eventually, when the joiner bought the wood from the
lumber dealer, perhaps he would consider these marks to choose the
type of wood that he would need to elaborate a certain project. Then
in his workshop he would cut them on his convenience, so after this
procedure some marks get partially cut out.

Perhaps those pointy gouge marks may indicate the growing direction
of the tree, made by lumberjacks, and then just left there by the
joiner? Or perhaps the provide an indication of that plank's
position or orientation on a previous project and then re-used now
on this painting?

On other occasions we found vertical planks with original matching
painting on the front side, but showing butterfly "original"
reinforcements on the back side where each half of the butterfly
(each dowel tail) was not matching on the joint. Afterwards we
concluded that the boards had been re-used on a different
rearrangement, from a previous project. In this situation
radiography may help a lot to see if we have overlapped paintings.
Hope I could help in any way,

Miguel Garcia
Assistant Conservator
The Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York NY 10028-0198

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:34
               Distributed: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-21-34-006
Received on Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

[Search all CoOL documents]