Volume 9, Number 1, Jan. 1987, pp.16-17

Conferences in Review

Various authors

Jack Leslau Visits University of Arizona

In November Mr. Jack Leslau of London visited the University of Arizona to present a series of talks and to participate in a roundtable with certain members of the department of history and isotope geochemistry lab concerning research he has been doing for the past 14 years on a painting presumed to be a Holbein. According to Mr. Leslau the painting is just one of 73 done by Holbein the Younger that contain rebuses (puzzles representing words, phrases, etc. by pictures or symbols whose names have the same sounds as the words represent) proving that Sir Thomas Moore's court painter (Holbein) knew that Edward V and Richard, Duke of York (sons of King Edward IV and rightful heirs to the crown), had not been murdered by Richard III. The painting, Portrait of Sir Thomas Moore's Family, the property of descendants of Margaret Roper (Sir Thomas' favorite daughter) was recently restored and canvas samples taken to determine whether it was an original Holbein or a copy some years later by Locke. The painting contains over 80 rebuses indicating that the individual in the doorway is the rightful heir. Gloria Giffords provided Dr. Paul Damon in the Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, with technical advice in selecting canvas samples for the testing done in the lab of Isotope Geochemistry and participated in the roundtable discussion. Dr. Damon concluded that the canvas sample provided him by Mr. Leslau was compatible to the dates of Holbein the Younger's first sojourn to England. Controversy still surrounds Leslau's interpretation of Holbein's work by historians and art historians. The discussions were highly animated.

Gloria Giffords
Private Conservator

The Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center

The Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center (RMRCC) presented two workshops in their collection care series December 4th and 5th at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City. The care of objects was given by Carl Patterson and the care of textiles by Jeanne Brako.

Both sessions were well attended by an enthusiastic group mainly from small museums, historical houses and historical societies. There were also curators from larger museums who at present do not have conservation facilities.

The lectures and slides on objects care included environmental effects, methods of handling, storage and exhibition considerations. Properties of wood, furniture, leather, feathers, bone and ivory, metals, ceramics and glass were discussed as well as maintenance and recognizing deterioration. Part of the afternoon was spent in the conservation laboratory where examples of different materials were set out for discussion.

The lecture on textile care included fibers, types of textiles, recognizing textile problems, and developing a vocabulary for documentation. Excellent slides accompanied the lecture. In the laboratory items were set out and condition reports were written. An introduction to fiber identification was given using prepared slides and the microscope.

Everyone expressed their gratitude to the RMRCC and their willingness to offer these courses. We hope they come back next year with paintings and paper.

Sharon Odekirk
Museum of Church History and Art

The Harpers Ferry Regional Textile Group

The Harpers Ferry Regional Textile Group sponsored their eighth textile preservation symposium on 6 and 7 November 1986. Several WAAC members attended, including, Jeanne Brako, Sharon Donnan, Margaret Geiss Mooney, Catherine McLean, Pat Reeves, Sharon Shore and Nancy Wyatt. The subject of the symposium was "Textile Treatments Revisited." There were 18 presentations covering a variety of subjects such as the problems encountered with formaldehyde in plywood, paints, coatings and laminates; the use of the pressure mount; the conservation of tapestries, torah ark curtains, and altered costume; the evaluation of sewing techniques and the use of adhesives; and the problems encountered when a textile storage area flooded. Over 270 persons attended the symposium and pre-prints were included in the registration package. The conference was taped and information on ordering tapes can be obtained from: Cassette Recording Company, Inc., 15 East 4th Street, Suite 610, Dayton, OH 45402, phone (513) 222- 1024. Individual tapes are $7.50 each and the complete set of conference tapes is $99.00 (17 cassettes). In addition, they offer tapes from the 1984 HFRTG symposium, "Special Problems in the Treatment of Three-Dimensional Textile Objects."

Reviewed by Catherine C. McLean
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

AIC Textile Specialty Group

AIC Textile Specialty Group sponsored a most rewarding and informative fiber refresher course at the University of California, Berkeley campus, July 21-25, 1986. The course was sponsored by the Textile Specialty Group of the AIC; some of the costs were supported by the Small Sessions Endowment Fund of the FAIC. Course liaisons were Margaret Geiss-Mooney and Cara Varnell; the guides were Mary-Lou Florian and Margaret Odonez; there were 13 participants.

Participants and guides defined the sometimes varying reasons for engaging in fiber identification: to carry out stabilization, treatment, and provide proper storage for objects, to answer research questions, and so on. Then, using Nikon polarizing light microscopes, participants reviewed identification of plant, animal and synthetic fibers via recognition of morphological and cellular features, optical properties, stain reactions, solvency, and other means. Participants found the course to be well planned and organized and enormously beneficial.

Ann Hanniball
Curator of Collections
Utah Museum of Natural History

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