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CELLULOSE GLUES

mostly transparent yellow. Cellulose nitrate can be dissolved in most organic solvents.
Rathgen used Zapon lacquer or dope (see below) to consolidate infested woods.26
Poppy-seed oil was used as a plasticizer. Camphor, castor oil and linseed oil were also
used as plasticizers, but they had a tendency to produce undesirable signs of aging,
such as "sweating" or embrittlement.
Acetylcellulose is more durable and more stable than cellulose nitrate, and, by contrast
with the latter, is not combustible. It is only soluble in acetone or acetone-alcohol
mixtures and replaced cellulose nitrate as a consolidant. In the 1950s and 1960s
cellulose acetate (dope) was frequently used as a preservative.
Apart from resins dissolved in ethanol (like shellac), acetylcellulose was the first
consolidant in the history of conservation to be dissolved in a highly volatile solvent
(acetone). Highly volatile solvents can make wood swell so much that cracks appear.
Furthermore, as the consolidant solution dries a hard layer forms in areas close to the
surface and becomes increasingly thick, preventing the solvent from evaporating
within the wood for a long time and giving rise to stresses in the support. The "fluid
nylon" that was still used in the 1970s, calaton (Zellodyl), sometimes caused similar
damage.
According to Schiessl, water-glass, a soluble mass of
potassium silicate (potash glass) or sodium silicate (sodium water-glass) was also used
for the consolidation of sculptures, a completely unsuitable treatment.27
Aqueous cellulose glues, such as methylcellulose _r carboxymethylcellulose, came
onto the market in 1931. These were colorless cellulose ethers that expanded strongly
in water, but were not suitable for wood consolidation on account of their expansivity.
From about 1950 artificial resin glues replaced the glutoline and casein glues that had
been standard until then. Polyvinyl alcohols, polyvinyl acetates, polyvinyl methyl
ethers, polyacrylic acids and phenolic resins, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate,
and polyacrylic esters, all dissolved in dispersions or emulsions, came onto the market
as adhesives, binding agents, and consolidants.
These products were used for wood consolidation even though their properties, their
purity, their byproducts, what other components were polymerized with them, and
what plasticizers, stabilizers, solvents, etc. they contained were unknown. These
products were used for wood consolidation. The problems that can arise due to the use
of these agents were often overlooked or disregarded. The basic problem is the water
that is added to these artificial resins as a dispergent. Further difficulties are caused by
the fact

ARTIFICIAL RESIN GLUES

44
WOODEN SUPPORTS

that some plasticizers and their derivatives are capable of migrating into the original
substance, as well as the way that the binding agents age, a process about which there
is insufficient information.
During consolidation with an aqueous binding agent its water content causes
expansion inside the support. Cellulose ester consolidants begin to dry on the outside,
forming a layer that is impermeable to water vapor. As a result, a large proportion of
the moisture present is trapped in the wood for a long time. It is generally accepted
that, when dispersion polymers are used as consolidants, the size of the particles often
prevents the consolidation of deeper layers, the wood often expands on account of
their water content, and cracks can appear in the wood during drying.
In addition to polymer wood consolidation, early on there was work on the possibility
of consolidating wood using monomers, with polymerization taking place inside the
wood. As monomers need no solvents, they have the advantage that the consolidant
loses none of its volume. Heat, a catalytic adjuvant, or a particular type of radiation
are required if monomers are to polymerize.
In the 1940s consideration was given to the consolidation of unstable wood by this
method. When it was first discussed a temperature of 212F (100C) was needed for
setting, which meant that monomers were not suitable for the restoration and
conservation of artworks and cultural treasures. In the 1960s there were attempts to
consolidate wood with radiation-polymerized plastic monomers.
Other monomers are what are known as cold-setting reaction resins, which are
hardened by a catalytic adjuvant. Thelepoxy resins are among the members of this
group used in restoration work. Since the early 1960s types of epoxy resin have been
used in the most varied areas of conservation. Their greatest advantage is their slight
change of volume after polymerization. The problems caused by these materials are
related to their sometimes very high reaction temperatures (up to 230F (11 OC). At
these temperatures the wood that has not been penetrated by the consolidant begins to
dry out where it borders on damaged areas. Another early problem was their high
viscosity, which meant that the resin flowed too
slowly to penetrate deep into the wood. Formulations for thinning epoxy resins have
been available since 1967. However, thinning has the disadvantage that it can make
setting even slower.

MONOMERS

EPOXY RESIN!

Wood consolidation today

ON RESINS
Despite intensive tesearch into methods for the consolidation of biologically damaged
wood, there are still no procedures for treating bored wooden supports that can be
recommended unreservedly. The difficulties raised by all wood consolidation
techniques are still connected with:
. consolidant penetration
. wood discoloration
. wood expansion
. reaction temperatures
. their effects on the picture layer.
One, if not several, of these problems usually arises when supports are consolidated.
Hitherto, restoration and conservation work involving wood consolidation as
described above has been based on the introduction of consolidants into damaged
areas and cell cavities. Today it is most common to use artificial resins dissolved in
organic solvents and monomers like the epoxy resins, which are polymerized by
chemical catalysts. Wood consolidants dissolved in organic solvents include acrylic
resin solutions such as Basileum LX Hardening, which uses the solvent
tetrachloroethene (perchloroethylene). Some other common solvents are toluene,
xylene, and high boiling white spirit. They are particularly associated with two of the
problems discussed above:
. the solute polymers dry physically, which means that there is a reduction of volume
during consolidation, sometimes \ causing stresses and cracks in the artwork;
. the solvent may affect certain substances in the
artwork, such as the color layers.
The problems of the past with regard to epoxy resins have been overcome. There are
now cold-setting, thin epoxy resin products that are well suited to the consolidation of
worm-infested wood. The procedure by which the two components are introduced into
the wood together requires exact planning and execution in order to achieve optimal
setting and penetration depth.
When using reaction resins, it should be noted that polar solvents such as methanol
can sometimes set off an uncontrollable acceleration in the consolidation process.
Nonpolar solvents such as xylene or toluene do not cause reactions of this kind.
The consolidants in current use are mostly biocidefree solutions of a setting substance
in an organic solvent. Some of the solvents used themselves possess a certain
insecticide effect, but this is hardly sufficient for conclusive eradication.
The use of a combination of wood preservatives and consolidants is currently rejected
by restorers. It is thought impossible to combine the active agents in

such a way that they do not retard each other's action. Restorers still adhere to the
principle of fighting the pest first, then consolidating the wood.

The consolidation of wood damaged by fungi


The consolidation of wood damaged by fungi is usually undertaken with artificial
resins. These viscous solutions penetrate very effectively, thanks to the porosity of
wood that has been infested with fungi. If a slow-evaporating solvent is used,
distribution is good in damaged wood. Insufficiently concentrated solutions reduce
wood strength. Due to the great increase in the weight of the wood during
consolidation, wood fibers that hang together loosely are pushed apart. A small
amount of resin may not compensate for this loss of stability.
Encouraging results have been achieved in tests with medium- to high-concentration
artificial resin solutions in high boiling benzenes (Plexigum P28, 30-40% dissolved
in high boiling white spirit [2843_2F, 140-200C]; Mowilith 30, 20% dissolved in
toluene). Very good consolidation was achieved with the ready-prepared product
Lignol AS/AW-K,28

SOLUTE ARTIFICIAL RESINS

The consolidation of wood infested by larvae

Wood that has been infested with insect larvae is weakened by frass galleries, but not
chemically altered like wood attacked by fungi. In experiments carried out by Cuany
et al. the best results were achieved with low-viscosity epoxy resins (such as Araldite
BY158/Hardener HY22996). They remain fluid for a long time, distribute well, and
consolidate the bore dust present in the frass galleries.
Good consolidation is also obtained with thin artificial resins of medium (20-30%)
concentration (Plexigum P28, 30% in high boiling white spirits; Paraloid Bn, 20 % in
toluene3O). High-viscosity artificial resin solutions do not attain sufficient penetration
and only bond the frass close to the surface. Weak artificial resin solutions transport
too little consolidant into the damaged wood. It is possible to pretreat damaged wood
with a weak, highly penetrative solution and then undertake the consolidation with a
concentrated solution. Restorers are sometimes faced with wooden panels that have
been consolidated in the past but are failing again. Before repair, checks should
always be carried out to discover whether the consolidant intended for use will be
compatible with the consolidant already in the wood.

WOOD CONSOLIDATION

45
EVALUATION

painting transferred to a new support made of textile, wood, or artificial composite


boarding (fiberboard, blockboard). The reasons for this 'intervention are extensive
damage to the original support by insects and/or chronic paint layer cleavage.
It is not known when partial transfers were carried out for the first time. Total transfer
is an invention of
the 18th century. For a long time Robert Picault was regarded as its inventor. He
transferred a Madonna by Raphael, which is now in the possession of the National
Gallery in London, from wood to canvas in 1751 (see illustration on page 69), as well
as many other important paintings. Research by Schaible has now proved that Italian
painters and restorers were transferring paintings long before Picault.38
Every form of transfer is a last resort and should only be used if the painting cannot be
preserved by any other means. The choice between partial and total transfer has
always been a point of dispute among restorers. The apparently less hazardous method
of
partial transfer has often been chosen but, in my opinion, many restorers have
overlooked the fact that it does not eliminate the original reasons for the transfer (see
above) because a thin layer of the original panel is left in place. In total transfer the
factor that is causing the problems, the wood, is eliminated and the picture layer fixed
onto a new support. When unqualified total transfers are carried out the panel painting
loses its characteristic features and structures and takes on those of the new support
(see illustration on page 68).

Partial transfer

PROCEDURE

Partial transfer is a procedure in which a wooden support is reduced until it is only


0.5-1 mm thick and the thin "support sheet" thus created transferred onto a secondary
support. The reasons for partially transferring paintings are the same as those for
mounting on secondary supports (see pages 56f.).
Partial transfers are mentioned in the literature on restoration and there are paintings
in collections that have been partially transferred, but it is a historical technique and
other methods should be used today.
Partial transfer involved three main procedures:
. reinforcing the picture layer by sticking a covering
onto it (facing)
. reducing the original support to the desired
thickness
. gluing the reduced support onto a secondary
support.
As restorers have to deal professionally with paintings that have been partially
transferred, we will quote a (shortened) report of a partial transfer by one of

several possible techniques that was carried out in 1952 at the renowned Courtaulds
Institute in London. This example will demonstrate what panel paintings are expected
to undergo during partial transfer.
The picture side was protected with two layers of a strong silk paper, which was
smoothed with a heating tool and a mixture of unbleached beeswax and colophonium.
A wick, band of silk paper was allowed to protrude all round the panel. The faced
painting was laid face down on a high-density board and the protruding strips of silk
paper were fastened onto the rear side of the high-density board with adhesive tape.
(This was to stop particles of wood finding their way between the picture layer and the
paper.) The whole thing was laid front side down on a table and fastened with a
cushioned board and screw cramps. A gouge was used to pare the support both with
and across the grain until only half a millimeter was left, which was smoothed with
sandpaper. The ground, the paint layer, and parts of the support were impregnated as
much as possible with a mixture of
unbleached beeswax and dried chalk using the warmed heating tool. The frass
galleries and other irregularities in the wood cut open during the planing of the panel
were filled in the same way. The secondary support chosen was a 0.5 in (12 mm) thick
fiberboard somewhat larger than the painting. This board was impregnated with
unbleached beeswax in a bath on the heating table. Then the warm secondary support
was coated with a mixture of unbleached beeswax and chalk. The secondary support
was allowed to cool off slowly to the point at which the wax/chalk coating was just
sticky enough to ensure good adhesion to the reduced support which _as laid on it.
The whole thing was then ironed together through a layer of parchment with a sheet of
felt over it, working out from the center with a cold iron. The partially transferred
painting was weighted down overnight with a board and weights,39

Total transfer

There are two methods of total transfer. The first is the very risky one used by Picault
and cited above, in which the picture layer is softened and then pulled away from the
support like a stamp, although the descriptions that have been passed down of
Picault's technique do not go_into great detail.
The second method is the procedure that is still used occasionally today, in which the
support is pared down by shaving to the ground or the paint layer (see illustration on
page 68). Transfer should only be undertaken: C'

TRANSFER

67
PASTE

give exact proportions because they depend on the precise ingredients used.
The lukewarm ground mixture is then applied with a brush to a thickness of about 1
mm. After it has dried a fine napless gauze is laid on top and bedded down with
a layer of the ground mixture. This then has to dry. Next the painting is lined with a
coarse canvas. The following paste is recommended:
1 part linseed flour mixed in
24 pans water, add
2 parts joiner's glue and boil for 30 minutes in a
water bath;
mix together
3 parts wheat flour and
3 parts rye 'flour
and add to the paste. The whole mixture is sieved and boiled for some minutes in a
water bath. Before it goes cold 1 part molasses can be added to make the paste more
elastic.
The "sandwich" is turned over and the plaster bed is removed. The plaster holding the
protective layers in place is softened with water and a bristle brush, and the plaster
mixture rubbed off down to the canvas. The canvas weave can then be rolled off. The
waxresin mixture is softened with white spirit and removed with cotton wool. Lastly,
the handkerchief
linen is carefully rolled away from the paint layer. The transferred painting is then
nailed onto a blockboard or chipboard sheet in the same way as a canvas painting.4O

RENEWING DAMAGED SUPPORTS

PUTTIES

Only a few panel paintings in German collections have been so badly damaged by
fungi or insects that their wood has had to be renewed. It is no longer possible to
ascertain when and where panels were first renewed. Presumably, damaged wood has
always been removed and replaced with new material, or putties used to renew
damaged parts.
Wooden supports damaged by the larvae of insects react sensitively to impacts or
pressure. Not only the corners are at risk but, depending on the extent of the damage,
the whole picture layer (see illustrations on
facing page). According to the type and extent of the damage and the attitude and
training of the restorer involved, supports are transferred (see pages 65ff.),
consolidated (see pages 40ff.), and/or renewed. As in the past, this is done with wood
or putty.
Putties are made up of filler(s) and binding agent(s). They are applied to defects with a
spatula. The fillers

70

WOODEN SUPPORTS

that have been used include: sawdust, chalk, and, today, club moss spores and micro
balloons; the binding agents used include wax, glutoline glues, PVAC dispersions,
Paraloid Bn, and epoxy resins (such as Araldite 2020). Depending on the binding
agent, putties contract more or less strongly (the exceptions being wax and the epoxy
resins) and have to be applied in layers (if the defect is deep) to prevent them tearing
as they dry.
Damaged areas on the back of a support, and eroded edges and corners are filled with
putty. Wooden dowels and metal nails are used to stabilize the putty at the edges and
are driven into the original wood. The putty is applied around the pins and smoothed
to match the support.
Putties do not react to changes in relative humidity in the same way as panels. Puttied
areas in a panel can act like inelastic plugs, rise up, or even come loose where they
meet the wood of the support.
The edges and/or corners of a few panel paintings have been mended with slats or
buttons. For this purpose the original substance is removed from the damaged areas,
creating a surface onto which the replacement parts can be glued. Renewing supports
with wood is a historical technique. Compared to puttying, it has the advantage that a
material is used that looks and generally behaves like the damaged support, provided
the correct wood is selected.
In 1977-78 Bachmann renewed some of the wood on a panel from the Lindenhardt
Altarpiece without straightening the original.41 Muller and Heiduk Vrana have
subsequently refined this method.42 Using prefabricated strips of balsawood that
always give a cross-section of 5 mm when glued together (for example, 2 x 2, 2 x 3, 2
x 5, 3 x 5, 3 x 3, 5 x 5), they are able to assemble a lining that fits well and reduce the
amount of work required. The binding agent used is a dispersion glue. The new inserts
can usually be fitted so precisely that they do not have to be glued to the original and
can be removed at any time
(see illustration on page 71).

PROTECTIVE BACKINGS

Protective backings are intended to protect a painting against mechanical and


environmental influences. They are applied directly onto the support or fitted behind it
(see illustrations on the left, on facing page and on page 74). We distinguish between
direct and indirect protective backings.
Direct protective backings consist of a protective layer attached firmly to the support.
Indirect

WOOD

BALSA WOOD STRIPS

On facing page:
This panel (1) has been badly damaged by insects, as is shown clearly by the computer
tomography scans (2, 3). During restoration the damaged area was opened (4, 5), lined on both
sides with short strips of wood (6, 7) and sealed up again (8). A computer tomography scan
made after the work was completed shows defective areas filled with wooden strips (9). (Icon,
private collection)
OW PROTECTIVE ACKINGS WORK

is suitable for this purpose needs to be decided in each individual case. The same is
true of Styropor on account of its lack of stability. 67
An indirect protective backing delays a panel's reactions to alterations in relative air
humidity by forming a climatic pocket between the reverse of the painting and the
backing board. This protects the support against short-term variations in temperature
and/or humidity. The duration of the protection is dependent on the type of board, in
particular on its expert mounting on the back of the painting, its vapor resistance
coefficient (m), its thermal conductivity, and sometimes its hygroscopicity.
If paintings have been in an unfavorable climate for some time (too dry or too humid),
protective backings influence their adjustment negatively. A certain period of time
goes by before the lower or higher humidity in the climatic pocket has equalized with
the more favorable climate. In other words, protective backings delay the reaction of
wooden supports to climatic changes of all kinds. To a certain extent, a good
protective backing can protect a wooden support from "rhythmic," short-term climatic
variations, but it offers no protection against climatic variations that take place over
longer periods of time.
By contrast with works on textile supports, mechanical protection plays only a
secondary role for panel paintings. The protective backing on a textile support is
supposed to protect it from vibrations and knocks; on wooden supports it serves
mainly to balance the pressure exerted when the picture is framed, with spring clips,
for example. The local compressive forces of the spring clips are absorbed and
distributed over a wider area.

MECHANICAL PROTECTION

HANGING, EXHIBITION

Panel paintings are hung, stored, or exhibited in various ways, depending on their
significance, size, sensitivity to climatic conditions, and similar factors (see
illustration on page 76). Hanging is the term used specifically when paintings are
fastened to a wall with nails, wires, or comparable materials. Depending on their
location and/or construction, walls may be drier or moister and/or cooler or warmer
than the ambient air in the gallery. These properties are sometimes transmitted to the
whole artwork and may cause serious damage if it is hung incorrectly. This fact was
well known to artists and restorers from as early as the 17th century, as can be readily
seen from surviving documents, written sources, and labels on protective backings on
paintings.

In 1834 Welsch advised that small pieces of cork should be glued onto the back of the
decorative frame of a painting to hold it away from the wall and protect the artWork
against temperature variations and wall moisture.68 Lucanus (1832)69 and Voss
(1899)70 also wrote extensively on this topic. This is a clear indication that the
problems associated with the moisture and low temperatures of walls were generally
familiar by the 19th century. In the 20th century this topic has been dealt with by
Wolters (1955 and 1960),71 Nicolaus (1979 and 1986),72 and Schaible (1987),73
Schaible suggested that, if walls are in a particularly poor state, the wall itself can be
insulated behind the panel with additional cork or foam sheeting.
It is usually enough to hang the picture at a certain distance from the wall to protect it
from the influences of a cold and/or damp wall. This is done by attaching buttons or
corks to the back of the decorative frame. A gap of 0.2-1.5 in (0.5-4 cm) is suggested
in the literature,74 What is crucial is that the gap between the wall and the painting is
large enough for the air to circulate behind the painting.
Correct hanging can make a decisive contribution to ,the preservation of a painting.
Highly climatically sensitive panel paintings, such as Titian's Christ and the Tribute
Money in Dresden, are exhibited in what are known as climatized exhibition cases, in
which the climate necessary for the preservation of the painting is created with special
salt solutions or silica gel.

PROTECTIVE BACKINGS

CORK CUSHIONS

CLiMATIZED EXHIBITION CASES

Overleaf:
The altarpieces in the Wallraf-RichartzMuseum in Cologne are placed at a
considerable distance from the wall. This ha: the advantages that the wooden panels
an not influenced climatically by the wal and, in addition, visitors can see the painted
backs of the altar wings.

75
Notes

C. Wolters, The care of wood panels, in: Museum, 8, 3 (1955), pp. 139-164
U. Lohmann, Holzhandbuch. Rosenheim 1986, p. 13
D. Grosser, Pflanzliche und tierische Bau- und Werkholzschadlinge. Leinfelden-
Echterdingen 1985, p. 18
The Swedish engineer Johann August Brinell (18491925) developed what is known as
the impression test, in which a ball is pressed into a material in order to determine its
hardness.
F. Kollmann, Technologie des Holzes und der Holzwerkstoffe. Vol. 1, Berlin 1951, p.
392
D. Grosser, see note 3, pp. 28ff.
Anon., Holzwurmsuchgerat "Detektiv, " ein neues Hilfsmittel der Holzindustrie, in:
Umschau in Wissenschaft und Technik, 7 (1951), p. 219
In this book I follow the excellent survey of the applications of biocides given by U.
Schiessl in his study: Historischer Oberblick Ober die Werkstoffe der
schadlingsbekampfenden und festigkeitserhohenden Holzkonservierung, in:
MaltechnikiRestauro, Vol. 90
I (1984), pp. 9-40.
I Vitruvius, De architectura. Vitruvius, a Roman architect
and engineer, composed this work, which consists of ten books, and is based on Greek
writings, in about 25 Be. It discusses architecture, clockmaking and mechanics, and is
the only theoretical architectural handbook to have survived from antiquity.
Leonardo da Vinci, Das Buch von der Malerei (1492). Deutsche Ausgabe nach dem
Codex Vatican us 1270, Obersetzt und Obersichtlicher geordnet von H. Ludwig
(reprint of 1882 edition). Osnabruck 1970, quoted in: A. Eibner, Entwicklung und
Werkstoffe der Tafelmalerei.
Munich 1928, p. 97
G. G. Zinke, Kunst allerhand natOrliche Korper zu sammeln, auf eine leichte Art fOr
das Kabinett aufzuarbeiten und vor der Zerstorung feindlicher Insekten zu sichern.
Jena 1802
Carbolineum: the term was formed by the combination of the words "carbo" (coal)
and "oleum" (oil). It is a mixture of the petroleum products phenol and cresol.
Instructions for Xylamon Holzwurm- Tod manufactured by Desowag
To "restore" the blackened parts they were wrapped in cloths soaked in hydrogen
peroxide. This converted black lead sulfide into white lead sulfate.
H.-P. Sutter, Holzschadlinge an KulturgOtern erkennen und bekampfen. Berne 1986,
p. 111
L. A. Zycherman/J. R. Schrock (eds), A Guide to Museum Pest Control. Foundation
of the American Institute for Conservation and Association for Systematic
Collections, Washington DC, 1988
Ageless Oxygen Scavenger is available from Conservation Materials Ltd., P. O. Box
2884, Sparks, Nevada 89432
F. Rathgen, Die Konservierung von Altertumsfunden. Parts II and III. Berlin 1924, pp.
140ff.
The Keylwerth Diagram was originally developed by W. K. Loughborough and
converted into German measures by R. Keylwerth. It sets out the correlations between
vapor pressure and relative air humidity as well as between relative humidity and
wood moisture. The graph on page 20 shows a simplified form of the diagram.
F. MOlier-Skjold, Zur Frage der Schadigung von Gemalden durch Rontgenstrahlen,
in: Angewandte Chemie, 49 (1936), pp. 161-162; 50 (1937), pp. 321ff.

21 V. CuanyN. Schaible/U. Schiessl, Studien zur Festigung biologisch geschwachten


Nadelholzes: Eindringvermogen, Stabilitatserhohung, feuchtephysikalisches
Verhalten, in: Zeitschrift fOr Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung, 3, 2 (1989),
pp. 249-292
22 Ibid., p. 277
23 F. Rathgen, see note 18, p. 148
24 D. Rosen, The preservation of wood sculpture: the wax immersion method, in:
Journal of the Walters Art Gallery,
13/14 (1950/51), pp. 45-71
25 F. Rathgen, quoted in U. Schiessl, see note 8, p. 27
26 F. Rathgen, see note 18, p. 148
27 U. Schiessl, see note 8, p. 22
28 KD-Chemicals, Laupen, Switzerland
29 200 9 of Araldite is added to 256 9 of a solvent mixture made up of 75% xylene,
15% isopropanol and 10% ethyl acetate, then 56 9 of the setting agent Araldite HY
2996 is added.
30 Paraloid B72 is a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
dissolved in toluene for wood consolidation.
31 R. E. Straub, A modified apparatus for fe-joining heavy
panels, in: Studies in Conservation, 2 (1955/56), pp. 192ff.
32 U. Niedermann, Einfaches Hilfsgerat zur Verleimung von
Fugen und Rissen, in: MaltechnikiRestauro, 1 (1979), pp.
51-54 33 Willard Developments Ltd., Chichester, England 34 L. Hacquin, quoted
in: V. Schaible, GemaldeObertragung,
in: MaltechnikiRestauro, 2 (1983), pp. 96-129
35 R. Carita, Patricia della parchettatura, in: Bolletino dell'
Instituto Centrale del Restauro, Vol. 27/28 (1956), pp.
103-131 .
36 R. D. Buck, Some applications of mechanics to the
treatment of panel paintings, in: G. Thomson (ed.), Recent
advances in conservation. London 1963, pp. 156-162
37 e. Wolters, see note 1
38 V. Schaible, see note 34
39 Cf. P. J. F. M. Hermesdorf, Ein neues Verfahren zur Obertragung von
Tafelmalereien bei teilweiser Beibehaltung des Bildtragers: in R. E. Straub (ed.), Ober
die Erhaltung von Gemalden und Skulpturen. Stuttgart, Zurich 1963, pp. 87-98
40 Cf. K. E. Denninger, Ein Verfahren zur Obertragung
_italienischer Tafelbilder des 13.-15. Jahrhunderts, in: R. E
Straub (ed.), see note 39, pp. 99-106
41 H.-w. Bachmann, quoted in: N. Erhardt, Moglichkeiten der Erganzung groBer
Fehlstellen an frassgeschadigtem Holz. Degree dissertation. Cologne Fachhochschule,
1995, p. 13
42 MOiler and Heiduk Vrana, quoted in: N. Erhardt, see note
41, p. 16
43 R. D. Buck, The use of moisture barriers on panel
paintings, in: Studies in Conservation, 6 (1961), pp. 9-19
44 P. Achternkamp, Der ROckseitenschutz von Gemalden: Historische und
zeitgenossische Praxis, in: Zeitschrift fOr Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung, 5
(1991). p. 18 (see reference in note 55)
45 e. Koster, Ober die Restauration alter Olgemalde.
Heidelberg 1827, p. 14
46 F. Bentz, Ratschlage zur Konservierung von Gemalden
und Zeichnungen, in: Jahrbuch fOr Kunst und
Kunstpflege, 1915-21, p. 335
47 J. Basch-Bordone, Handbuch der Konservierung und
Restaurierung alter Gemalde. Munich 1921, p. 12
48 K. Wehlte, ROckseitenschutz fOr Gemalde, in: Die
Kunstkammer, 5 (1935/36), p. 21 49 R. D. Buck, see note 43 50 e. Wolters,
Treatment of warped wood panels by plastic
deformation; moisture barriers; elastic supports, in: G.
Thomson (ed.), see note 36, pp. 163-164

51 R. H. Marijnissen, Degradation, conservation et restauration de I'oeuvre d'art.


Brussels 1967, p. 334 52 M. S. Brommelle/A. E. Werner, Problems of conservation
in museums, in: ICOM, London 1969
53 M. Koller, Barocke Altarbilder in Mitteleuropa: Technik, Schaden, Konservierung,
in: Der Altar des 18. Jahrhunderts. Das Kunstwerk in seiner Bedeutung und als
denkmalpflegerische Aufgabe. Forschungen und Berichte der Bau- und
Denkmalpflege in BadenWOrttemberg, Vol. 5, Munich. Berlin 1976, p. 210
54 J. A. Brewer, Effect of selected coatings on moisture sorption of selected wood test
panels with regard to common panel painting supports, in: Studies in Conservation, 36
(1991), pp. 9-23
55 P. Brunner, ROckseitenschutz von Gemalden. Degree dissertation. Staatliche
Akademie der Bildenden KOnste, Institut fOr Technologie der Malerei, Stuttgart,
1988 (Achternkamp is Brunner's married name, see note 44)
56 H. Mogford, Hand-book for the preservation of pictures.
London 1845, p. 28
57 A. H. Church/H. W. Ostwald, Farben und Malerei.
Munich 1908, p. 324
58 e. Wolters, see note 50
59 J. A. Brewer, see note 54
60 F. Bentz, see note 46, p. 338
61 R. E. Straub, Das Problem des verwolbten Holztafelbildes, in: Nachrichtenblatt der
Denkmalpflege in Baden-WOrttemberg, 11 (1968), p. 74
62 W. Brandt, Lokaler Klimaschutz im Tafelbild, in: Nachrichtenblatt der
Denkmalpflege in Baden
WOrttemberg, 11 (1968), p. 78
63 P. Achternkamp, see note 44, p. 40
64 Tycore, marketed by Anton Glaser, Stuttgart
65 Deko-Leichtplatte, marketed by Karthauser-Breuer GmbH, Cologne
66 e. Schulze-Senger/H. W. Schwarz, Zur Stabilisierung begradigter einseitig bemalter
Eichenholztafeln, in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Restauratorenverbandes (DRV), 7
(1985/86), pp. 98-102
67 Styropor is a proprietary brand of polystyrene rigid foam. 68 F. Welsch,
Vollstandige Anweisung zur Restauration der Gemalde in 01-, Wachs-, Tempera-,
Wasser-, Miniaturund Pastillenfarben. Quedlinburg, Leipzig 1834, p. 85
69 F. G. H. Lucanus, GrOndliche und vollstandige Anleitung zur Erhaltung, Reinigung
und Wiederherstellung der Gemalde. Halberstadt 1832, p. 20
70 E. Voss, Bilderpflege. Leipzig 1899, p. 14
71 C. Wolters, see note 1; C. Wolters, The care of paintings:
fabric paint support, in: Museum, 13,3 (1960), p. 142
72 K. Nicolaus, DuMont's Handbuch der Gemaldekunde.
Cologne 1979, revised edition 1986, p. 28
73 V. Schaible, Neue Oberlegungen zur Feuchtigkeit am
Leinwandbild, in: Zeitschrift fOr Kunsttechnologie und
Konservierung, 1, 1 (1987), p. 93
74 P. Achternkamp, see note 44, p. 28

NOTES

77
MATERIALS FOR SUBSTRUCTURE

TREATING IRREGULARITIES

TREATING SEAMS

REMOVING EDGES OF FABRIC

Knots, thickenings in
the thread, and (as
here) a seam will very
often manifest
themselves on the
front of a painting.

Fabric knots and seams


Textile supports and lining fabrics may - depending on the quality, age, and size of the
fabric - have knots, thickened threads, and/or seams (illustration facing page and
right). Knots, thickened threads, and seams form irregularities on the verso of a
painting that, when the painting is lined, would push through and become visible on
the front. The result would be perceptible "knots" in the picture layer and/or bulges
along the seam (illustration page 92). To prevent such irregularities from pushing
through, textile supports need to be prepared for lining, usually with what is called a
"substructure."
Substructures are made of thick, soft materials in which knots and bulges are able to
embed themselves. If they are still not absorbed, even by an appropriate substructure,
they are removed with a scalpel and/or sandpaper. This of course weakens the stability
of the thread and hence the stability of the textile support.
To reduce irregularities, the verso of the painting or lining fabric is coated with primer
or a mixture of Beva 371 and chalk. This will fill in the interstices of the fabric,
leaving irregularities visible as projections; these are then smoothed off Another way
of' embedding irregularities is by using thicker lining material or interposing a layer of
soft fleece (the "sandwich" method).
The textile supports of large paintings often consist of two or more strips of material
sewn together, with the seam forming a bulge on the verso of the painting. Unless
suitable preparations are made prior to lining, or appropriate lining techniques are
employed, the seam will press through and become
apparent on the front of the painting.
Picture restorers have a number of ways of lining paintings with seams in the support:
. The seam is secured on the front of the painting (facing), the projecting edges of the
seam on the verso (illustration facing page) are removed with a scalpel, and any minor
irregularities are rubbed off with sandpaper.
. The painting is lined on a low-pressure or vacuum hot table with the picture layer
downward. The lining canvas "hugs" the seam. This deforms the verso of the painting,
but leaves the front smooth.
. Lining is done in a vacuum envelope. Again, the lining fabric hugs the seam.
Deformation occurs on the
verso of the painting, but
usually there will also be
some slight deformation on
the front.
Removing the projecting
edges of fabric from a seam
is a major operation. Often
the sewing thread also gets
damaged in the process,
destroying the join between
the two strips of canvas. If
this is not spotted in time,
when the lining fabric is
later removed and if

GENERAL
RESTORATION OPTIONS

91
WOOD PANELS

PASTEBOARD

BLOCKBOARD

FIBERBOARD

CHIPBOARD

ALUMINUM SHEETING

NOOD PANEL EFFECT

IMPRESSION INTO THE PICTURE LAYER

1955 Straub described as marouflage a procedure in which the thin wooden support of
a mummy picture from the Ancient Egyptian site of El Faiyum was bonded on to a
sheet of five-ply plywoodJ8 De Wild described the marouflage technique in 1964 and
by doing so will presumably have encouraged others to copy itJ9 Just one year later,
in 1965, Straub was warning against marouflage.80
Until the beginning of the 20th century, wood panels, pasteboards, and metal sheets
were the only materials available for use as auxiliary supports for marouflage. The
beginning of the 20th century brought new, artiucially manufactured sheeting
materials, such as plywood, blockboard, chipboard, high-density fiberboard, and
aluminum sheeting.
The classic auxiliary supports for marouflage were wood panels. Depending on the
size of the painting to be marouflaged, they were made up of one or more boards
glued together. As a rule, glutoline glues were used for marouflage.
In the 19th century pasteboards were used as auxiliary supports for canvas paintings.
Plywood began to be produced on an industrial scale in Germany and used as a
support for marouflage from about 1900 onward.
Blockboard is made of rectangular-section wood batons pressed between several
layers of veneer. It was
used frequently for partial and total transfers of wooden panel paintings in the 20th
century. It is also found occasionally as an auxiliary support used in marouflage.
Fiberboards produced from wood shavings have been available since about 1914.
They are classified as either low-density or high-density fiberboards. Highdensity
fiberboards are used for marouflage. Chipboards were first described in 1943 and
produced on an industrial scale from 1950 onward. They are used for the marouflage
of large-format canvas paintings. In the 1960s aluminum sheeting also began to be
used for auxiliary supports. Sheet aluminum81 or "aluminum honeycomb supports"82
were employed in marouflage.
Every time marouflage is carried out, the characteristics of the support, what is known
as the "wood-panel effect," are loSt.83 All paintings on wood, canvas, metal, or stone
possess a quite specific structure which is dependent on the particular support used. A
specialist can identify the support simply by looking at the surface of the painting (see
illustrations above and on opposite page). When a painted fabric is transferred on to a
rigid support some of its characteristic features are destroyed or influenced by the
properties of the new support.
Where marouflage has been carried out inexpertly, the picture layer is impressed into
the interstices of

132

TEXTILE PICTURE SUPPORTS

the original fabric. As a result, the structure of the fabric can be seen in the picture
layer and influences the surface structure of the painting.
Damage of this kind is found not only on marouflaged paintings, but also when
paintings have been lined in heat/vacuum tables, in which powerful forces are exerted
on the surface of the painting. During marouflage the picture layer is particularly at
danger because the painting is pressed onto its new, hard auxiliary support without
any cushioning beneath it to reduce the forces which arise.
If a painting displays pronounced impasto, the facing is not soft enough, and the
adhesive is applied too thickly, what is known as "negative- effect damage"
occurs. If the facing is inelastic, pressure is not

NEGATIVE EFFECT DAMAGE

distributed evenly across the


whole surface of the painting
as the press is tightened, but
only bears upon areas of
impasto in the picture layer,
which then sink into the
adhesive layer. The adhesive
under these areas of impasto
is pressed away sideways and
forms bulging pockets of
adhesive which lift up the
flatter areas of the picture
layer nearby.
This "levels" the paint layer, which is causing the painting to lose its original surface
structure. Negative-effect damage is not restricted to marouflage, but can occur
whenever smooth supports are used in lining.
Marouflaged paintings sometimes warp. They distort in this way if aqueous adhesives
are used without the attachment of a protective interleaf to the reverse of the support.

Above and on oppositEO-page: Paintings on textile supports (above) and wooden


panels (opposite page) have their own
cha racteristic structures which are destroyed by marouflage or transfer.
Nails and Staples 147 Notes 152

THE PAINT LAYER

154

Introduction 157

Changes caused by Painting Techniques 158 Wrinkling 158


Yellowing 158
Loss of opacity 162
Fading and browning 163
Buckling 164

Craquelure 165
Drying cracks 167
Aging cracks 174
Cracks in paintings on canvas 179. Cracks in wood panel

paintings 183
Blanching 184 Artificial craquelure 185

Layer Separation, Binding Agent Failure 189 Wooden picture supports 189
Textile picture supports 194
Metal picture supports 199
Copper plares 199. Iron panels 200
Heat blisters 200
Damage caused by acids and stripping agents (through vandalism) 203
Damage by microorganisms 204

Reattaching and Securing Separated


Layers 207
Wooden picture supports 212
Piercing merhod 214. Hinge method 216. Immersion method 216. Funnel method 217.
Layer reattachment on badly damaged supports 217. Treatment of powdering or
chalking color layers 217
Textile picture supports 221
Treatment of air pockets 224
Metal supports 224
Copper plates 224. Iron panels 224
Treatment of paintings damaged by acid and paint stripper 225
Treating burn blisters 226
Combating microorganisms 227
Binding agents 229
Natural aqueous binding agents 229 . Forms of wax 230 . Oils, resin, balsam 230.
Synthetic binding agents (Polyvinyl alcohols [PVAI) . Polyvinyl acetates (PVAC) .
Acrylic resim. Cellulose ethers. Calaton [nylon} . Beva 371) 231 Wetting agents 234

Filling 233
Preparation of the defective area 235
Filling putty 235
Fillers with natural drying agents (Glue filler. Oil filler. Wax filler) 238 . Fillers with
synthetic binding agents (Beva filler. Polyvinyl alcohol filler. Polyacrylic filler.
Readymade filling putty) 241
Treating the surface 243 .
Applying the filler 243 . Leveling-off 243 . Structuring 243 (Structuring with filling
putty. Structuring on filling
putty) 244. Coloring 251 . Isolation 253
Treating old fillings 253
Filling substances 253
Binding agents 254
Preservatives 256

Retouching 257
Retouching techniques 260
Construction of retouchings 262
Pigments (Opacity. White. Blue. Yellow. Red. Brown. Black) 263 . Binding agents
270. Retouching paints 272
Retouching with drying oils and resins 274 Retouching with oil paints 274. Retouching
with resinous paints 276. Resin-oil paint retouching 276
Retouching with aqueous binding agents 277 Retouching with vegetable gums 277.
Watercolor ret6uching 277. Gouache retouching 278 . Egg tempera
retouching 278
Retouching using semisynthetic and synthetic binding agents 281
Cellulose ether retouching 281 . Acrylic resin retouching 281 . Polyvinyl acetate
retouching 282. Polyvinyl alcohol retouching 283 . Polycyclohexanone (ketone) resin
retouching. 283
Structures 283
Artificial aging 284
Surface luster 285 . Paintbrush 289

Methods of completion 289


Retouching "fragmented" paintings 290. Neutral retouching 290. Tratteggio (rigatino)
291 . Standard retouching 294 . Total retouching 294. Overpainting
295 . Reconstructing lost forms 295
Craquelure 299
Patina 299
Varnishes 300
Workplace 303

Notes 305

VARNISH 308

Introduction 310 Varnishes 313

---------

Oil varnishes 313


Oleo resinous varnishes (oil lacquers Albumen or egg white varnishes 31 Resin
varnishes 314

Soft resin or resin essence varnishes 315. 316 . Wax and wax-resin varnishes 317.

varnishes 318

Varnish Application 321 Swabbing 321


Brush application 322 Spray application 322

The Varnish Layer 325 Yellowing 328


Bloom 330 Embrittlement 331 Craquelure 332 Crazing 332

Surface Dirt 335 Air pollution 335


Deposits and adhesion 336 Protecting the surface of the paintin

Cleaning 339 Solvents 339


Hazards 344 Protective measures 347 Surface cleaning 351 Regeneration 353 Varnish
removal 356
Removal of retouches and overpaint Removing varnish with organic solvents (5, .
Solvent triangle. Reftrming method) 359 . with solvent gels 366. Removing varnish
366 . Solvent gels or solvent emulsions 3/ 367 . Removal using powder 368 . Cleani
368 . Microfriction 368

Notes 370

APPENDICES
Documentation 372
Glossary 384
Bibliography 392
Illustration acknowledgements _

INDEX 408