Travels through Conservation: Preserving Temperance

By Director of Conservation Lois Alcott Price

The temperance banner after conservation. 1969.7815.

The Textile Lab has recently been the site of a collaboration between painting and textile conservation. Flaking paint on a fragile silk edged cotton banner scheduled for exhibition in Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition has required creative problem solving to stabilize both the shattered silk and the lifting paint. The banner is a rare survival advocating temperance that was created as part of the temperance movement in the 19th century.

Dye samples meant to match the silk border of the banner.

After testing multiple dye recipes to get an exact match, textile conservator Kate Sahmel dyed fine silk crepeline to match the silk boarder and then gently adhered it to provide support. The side edges are complete, but the challenge of the tabs attached to the wooden rods at the top and bottom remains.

Conservator Kate Sahmel consolidates the silk.

Paintings conservator Mary McGinn fed adhesive under each paint flake with a tiny brush, then activated the adhesion with a warm tacking iron. The adhesive chosen had to be flexible and chemically stable, but not change the appearance of the paint.

Conservator Mary McGinn consolidates the painted details on the banner using an adhesives.

Come see the beautifully-conserved banner on display in the Uncorked! exhibition, opening April 28 here at Winterthur!

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