Marble sculpture; Ganymede and the eagle; Ganymede with phrygian cap and chalmys; leans on stump of tree and looks to the eagle which stands on it.
- Height: 87.63 centimetres
11 February 2002
Reason for treatment
Examination, cleaning and structural repair of the base..
The overall condition of the surface of the stone is good. Concretions formed on the surface (mainly on the body, drapery and trunk),and were probably caused by its burial in the past. Otherwise, the level of dirt is high, but mainly superficial. Structurally, three fingers of the right hand are missing and two toes of the right foot are broken, but these are still existing. The heel of the left foot is broken. The left hand is missing and the break has concretions, which suggests that this hand is already missing for quite a long time. The base has, in the past, already been broken and stuck back with some resin (unidentified), but this has failed. The inferior part of the eagle's beak is missing, as well as one of the claws of the left foot. Over the left arm of Ganymede remains a section of what could be a pedum. The body of Ganymede is joined on the neck (the head is not original), on the right shoulder and on the right wrist. The fillings are discoloured. There are big fissures on the two ankles of Ganymede's legs, on his forehead and on the Persian hat.
It was found that de-ionised water, cold and warm on a cotton wool swab, was sufficient to clean most of the superficial dirt. Various cleaning tests were done in order to reduce the black dirt concentrated mainly on the face, hair and hat. Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone), Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol), White Spirit (composition variable - petroleum distillate) were first tested on a cotton wool swab. No satisfactory results were obtained. Then, the first two solvents were again tested in a poultice made of Laponite RD (sodium magnesium lithium silicate) on japanese tissue and covered with cling film. Still no results were obtained. Nitromors (water soluble, methylene chloride,sodium hydroxide,cellulose), Liniment of soap (camphor,oleic acid,rosemary oil,potassium hydroxide) and more solvents such as toluene, pure alcohol, butanone, 2-ethoxy ethanol still didn't give good results. 2-ethoxy ethanol, Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone), pure alcohol and butanone were also put into a poultice, each for about 2 min. 30 sec. with no success. Finally, Autochrome metal polish (emulsified blend of abrasives,emulsifiers & mineral oil hydrocarbons) was applied on a cotton wool swab and some of the black dirt was removed. The complexity of the substance justified a chemical analysis. The results gathered from the conservation research department showed the presence of carbon, some unidentified organic material (it could well be some sort of resin), gypsum and calcite. After a first general cleaning, a steam cleaner at the lowest pressure was locally applied in order to see if the cleaning could be taken any further on some areas. Spot cleaning was also done using some small patches of Laponite RD poultices (sodium magnesium lithium silicate) in Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) as well as Nitromors (water soluble, methylene chloride,sodium hydroxide,cellulose) and cotton wool swabs. Later, the resin found on the break of the base was removed with Nitromors water soluble (methylene chloride,sodium hydroxide,cellulose) and cotton. The old fills were removed mechanically with a scalpel and the edges cleaned carefully. Refilling was done using Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin), Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone). Retouching was carried out with Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic). A coating was applied to the sculpture with polyethelene glycol 6000. On the fragment of the base, adhesive staining from masking tape could not be removed with the basic solvents. Mechanical removal with scalpel under binocular microscope was therefore necessary in order to minimise the two stains. Stainless steel dowels, diameter 5mm, were cut in a lengh of 60mm, and the base was drilled in order to fit the dowels. These were later stuck with polyester resin (General). The two fragments of toes were then stuck back in place with HMG Paraloid B72 (methyl ethyl methacrlylate), the remaining gaps filled with Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin) and Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone) and Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) , then retouched. A final coating was applied over these areas with polyethelene glycol 6000. These were then retouched with Cryla acrylic paints.
14 February 2002
Reason for analysis
Identification of black deposits on a marble statue of Ganymede being abducted by Zeus 1888,0301.1
Black deposits were observed on the head of a marble statue that is being cleaned in the StoneWall paintings and Mosaics section of the Department of Conservation. The material wascollected within the recesses of the face and hair; in particular around the eye lids the nose andin curls of the hair. The deposits had proved extremely resistant to removal by organic solventssuch as acetone and ethanol. A small sample of the material was taken and analysed by Fouriertransform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectroscopy using the diamond cell. The file is(C:omnic/spectra/jp/depositon marble 1888,3-1,3)The spectrum of the deposit is attached, after discussion with D. Thickett, and a search of thereference spectra the main component was identified as gypsum with some Calcite and Kaolinitepresent. Gypsum was formed through reaction with sulphur dioxide in the air. As the gypsumlayer forms it takes up particulates from the air forming a black deposit, even though gypsum iswhite. Calcite is present in the crust from the marble. Kaolinite may also be a component of themarble, but this has not been analysed; or it may have been an atmospheric particulate during theformation of the crust. Gypsum is slightly more soluble than calcite and may be removed usingwet poultices.(l)The spectra is attached with the sample being the green line, the gypsum is the burgundy, thekaolinite is shown in blue and the calcite in red. Peaks associated with organic material arepresent at around 3000 cm1.
Analysis reference number
Greek & Roman Antiquities
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Object reference number: GAA81810
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