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Subject: Neptune Toy Theatre

Neptune Toy Theatre

From: Harry Campbell <campbell.12<-at->
Date: Friday, February 15, 2013
We have in our Theatre Research collection a 19th century Neptune
Toy Theatre.  These were common in Europe and America, and used in
homes to stage miniature plays.  (Interestingly, I found a company
in Glasgow on the web that still makes these--actually, replicas of
old ones, like the Neptune--and all the characters, parts and moving

The proscenium is brightly painted paper over cardboard (the rest of
the backstage structure is wood).  The paper appears to have a
varnish over the painted surface, and is now quite dark yellow.  We
are debating whether to remove the varnish, and reveal the brighter
colors, or to leave it alone as part of the original creation and
naturally aged "patina."  The piece straddles the line between art,
toy and furniture, and as it is usually inadvisable to remove the
original finish from antique toys and furniture, often the varnish
is removed from painted artwork.  The varnish and painted paper
surface seem to be in good condition, otherwise.  I will be doing
some minor stabilizing repairs to the cardboard (folds) and the
wooden structure.

My first thought was to remove the varnish, but I am having serious
second thoughts.  I would like to give the best advice to our
curators, and would appreciate hearing other opinions, especially
from anyone who has worked on these, or who might have these in
their collections.

Harry Campbell
Ohio State University Libraries
Tech Center
1165 Kinnear Rd.
Columbus, OH 43212
Fax: 614-292-5214

                  Conservation DistList Instance 26:38
                 Distributed: Sunday, February 17, 2013
                       Message Id: cdl-26-38-017
Received on Friday, 15 February, 2013

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