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Subject: Bronze sculpture

Bronze sculpture

From: Bethany Palumbo <bgpalumbo<-a>
Date: Monday, May 12, 2014
We recently noticed that a bronze sculpture on display was actively
(and quite suddenly) deteriorating.  The symptoms are white patches
of efflorescence and an oily secretion which is dripping from these
areas.  This residue is highly acidic and appears to have 'burnt' a
hole through the sculpture from the inside (I have circled this in
red in one of the photographs).

The symptoms are very interesting and I'm convinced there is
something happening in the core of the sculpture, though I'm not
sure how it may have been stimulated, as the piece has been on
continuous display in the same location for the past 20 years.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to contact the sculptor. We know
he worked in bronze but we do not know precisely the materials that
were used in the production of this piece.  I attach some photos
showing the level of deterioration.

Any ideas, advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
We are really quite stumped.

Bethany Palumbo
Conservator, Life Collections
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
+44 1865 272996

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:45
                  Distributed: Saturday, May 17, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-45-012
Received on Monday, 12 May, 2014

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