Brief record of miniature painting’s assessment and conservation

1before-horz

When a conservator gets art works like the above miniature painting, it is not just the damages that interest him/her, it is also the history/mythology and story depicted in the painting that attracts the conservator. Story/history/mythology apart from the technique and place in timeline/age, would scale the importance of the painting.

We study a painting for following aspects before going for actual conservation:

  1. Story/interpretation /mythological importance/historical importance
  2. Technique of the painting
  3. Material used in painting
  4. Damages in the painting’s anatomy and surface.
  5. Intrinsic Deteriorating factors
  6. Environmental and human deteriorating factors
  7. Extent of intervention required

Following are only some of the damages observed and some of the conservation interventions required:

damages

 

This painting required basic surface cleaning, flattening and anti microbial treatment.
Our conservation team did following treatments before final display in the miniature gallery:

  1. Dry cleaning with soft brush on the front as well as the back.
  2. Sellotape pasted in previous restorations was removed with the help of organic solvents. Brown tapes were also removed from the back.
  3. The residual adhesives of sellotape and brown tape were removed with the help of appropriate solvents.
  4. Since there were colonies of fungi/mold spread throughout the back, it requited cleaning with ethanol. Front was also cleaned carefully with ethanol- de-ionized water mixture.
  5. The miniature must have been folded in past as it was evident from the fold marks and extensive flaking of the thick paint layer along that area. This flaking was fixed with a consolidant.

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Author: namitajaspal
Namita Jaspal, with inherited skills of art and aesthetics and passion for science, opted to pursue post- graduation in ‘Conservation of Cultural Property’ after her graduation in Science from Delhi University in 1992. Four year intense training at National Museum Institute provided the right foundation to start a career in Conservation. She is currently practicing conservation consultancy for Heritage property including monuments and collections. She has been doing independent research in conservation techniques and procedures in Indian context. She is currently working on the conservation of wall-paintings of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden temple at Amritsar. The project is nearing completion and getting a lot of appreciation for the organized and ethical treatment it is providing. It is for the first time in the history of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden Temple) that wall painting conservation and preservation is being done in a scientific manner, keeping the codes of Ethics into consideration while decision making. Another project just completed is of the Conservation of Krishna Temple at Kishankot, Gurdaspur, Punjab. In her private Conservation Laboratory, she is not only providing onservation services, but also mentoring young aspiring conservators and archaeologists by the way of training and paid internships. She has been a guest lecturer at DIHRM (Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management). With all the updated knowledge database and innovative practical approaches relevant to the Indian conditions, she could successfully do curative and preservative treatment of very old textiles like a nine feet long flag from nineteenth century that is regarded as priceless memorabilia of second Dogra regiment at Chandi Mandir, and four hundred years old (seventeenth century) Chola Sahib Ji of Sixth Guru of Sikhs, Sri Hargobind Sahib Ji. Apart from this she has done conservation of Photograph collections, archival records, numerous paintings, manuscripts and other cultural objects. She is also involved in preparation of up-gradation proposals for museums and such organizations. Her expertise includes Conservation and preservation technologies and procedures for conservation of varied material like wall paintings, paper, photographs, textile, ceramics, stone, metal and archaeological objects.

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