Undyed linen cloth; two selvedges and hem; Hieroglyphic symbols painted in one corner.
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Length: 152.5 centimetres
- Width: 91.5 centimetres
Inscription Positionone corner
27 September 2005
Reason for treatment
Remove broken glass and frame prior to transportation to Orsman Road. Remove staples and secure to padded board. Check paint and bloom. Repair weak areas.
The shroud was found secured with metal pins on a wood laminate board covered with a coarse fabric, possibly jute. Before being sent to the conservation studio at Orsman Road, the broken glass and frame were removed. The shroud was transported flat covered with tissue paper and a layer of Correx board.The overall condition of the shroud is fair. The fibres of the fabric are in good condition but are fragile and slightly shedding. The fabric is still quite flexible. The reverse of the fabric appears much darker than its front. It is uncertain whether this is due to the fading of the surface or is the result of the interaction between the original fabric and the much degraded support fabric. The outline of the shroud is clearly visible on the support fabric as if a negative print. The visible part of the support fabric is dark yellow (similar to the colour of the back of the shroud) while the areas covered by the shroud are a lighter greener hue (analysis in progress).There are a few areas of loss, some of which have fraying edges. Some of the losses are associated with patchy dark brown stains. Examination under microscope suggests a surface deposit as the brown material is present on the raised surfaces of the weave.The edge of the fabric is fraying along the proper left side of the shroud.One small painted fragment in the chest area is detached and held in place with two metal pins.There are a number of surface phenomena and problems with the paint layer. Analyses were requested to identify these problems and their relationship to the present condition of the shroud. (See CDCS internal report No. AR2005/12 "Identification of pigments and stains on a Roman period Egyptian shroud EA65775".)-Several areas of white deposits. Some splashes and spots dispersed over the painted surface which could be accidental. Other areas are covered with a powdered blanching type of deposit. -Another type of white surface deposit is visible on two of the three orange discs (centre hat and proper left side of the figure). Examination under microscope shows that the pigment layer is covered with a thick crusty, slightly crystalline surface. The third disc (top of the hat) appears to be unaffected.-Black areas of completely degraded fabric and paint on the right hand of the figure and chest area. The fabric has become brittle and broken with hard edges to losses. The whole affected areas are blackened, thick and brittle, the fibres weave completely obscured. A similar phenomenon has been observed on the surface of objects degraded by copper containing pigments.The surface of the blue pigment layer is slightly powdery with some loose pigments coming off under contact and is in need of consolidation. There is no adhesion / cohesion problem with any of the other painted layers. The painted surface is slightly dusty.
The first stage of the treatment was to draw a template of the shroud on a layer of thin Melinex (polyester) to locate the alterations and help to assess more accurately its condition.The metal pins holding the shroud on its support fabric were removed manually using a metal spatula as a lever on a layer of blotting paper to prevent the crushing of the original fabric.The small detached fragment held with pins was removed. Although it was previously in the correct location, it had been reattached in the wrong position (up side down).The shroud was vacuum cleaned through a layer of nylon net held in contact with its surface while the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner was held at close distance. The glass fragments were removed using tweezers. The areas of blue pigment layer were consolidated with 3 applications of 1% Paraloid B72 (methyl ethyl methacrlylate) in Xylene, then 2 applications of the same percentage dissolved in Acetone. The different rates of evaporation of the two solvents helped to successfully complete the consolidation of the layer throughout its thickness. Before the shroud was turned over, dyeing tests were performed to find a good colour match for the future support fabric. Cotton calico was chosen as the support fabric and was dyed with Solophenyl dyes (Liquor Ratio: 50:1; Recipe: 0.1% brown RL (130% concentration) + 0.1% yellow ARL (154%) + 0.05 grey 4GL (300%); Additives: NaSO4: 10gr per litre). See dye sheet: 19.01.05. The dyed cotton calico, as well as the natural coloured ones used to cover the board (see end of report), were all dried out under tension on a wooden stretcher to de-crimp (pre-stretch) the fabric.The shroud was turned over to access its reverse. A layer of Bondina + thin layer of plastazote + Correx board were laid on the surface of the shroud and secured to the wooden board with large drawing clips. The whole “sandwich” was turned over. Later during the treatment, this technique of sandwich between two Correx boards was used to turn the shroud over.The back of the shroud was vacuumed cleaned using the method described earlier for the front. Some insect webbing found along one edge of the shroud was removed using tweezers.The tears and fragile parts of the painted area were strengthen using natural coloured Japanese paper patches applied on the reverse with a 20% Klucel G (hydroxypropyl cellulose) in IMS. The paper was hand torn in the appropriate shape and size, the Klucel solution pasted out with a brush and the patches applied with hand pressure. The Patches were left under light pressure (layer of Melinex + glass weight) during the drying time of the adhesive.Two losses in the areas of black surface degradation needed a bridge of paper; one to secure two narrow strips of fabric, the other to hold the detached fragment in the right position and secure it to the nearest edge of fabric. The same Japanese paper + Klucel G method was used, only using a paper coloured with Liquitex acrylic artist colour (composition unknown) to match the colour of the new support fabric.To secure the shroud onto the backing fabric and support it evenly, a combined treatment using localised stitched and adhesive techniques was used. Starting from the technique of staggered support lines commonly used to support textiles on boards, the idea was to recreate a similar type of support with an adhesive on the painted areas of the shroud. This kind of combined treatment was devised previously on another Egyptian painted shroud (The “Pink Lady” shroud: EA.68509. See also P. Cruickshank, M. Pullan, J. Potter, “Recent treatments of painted Egyptian shrouds: the influence of condition and intended role.” in The Conservator, n.23, 1999).The adhesive selected to secure the painted area of the shroud was a substrate-free film of Klucel G. The film was made from a 10% Klucel G in an IMS / distilled water mix (3:1), applied in a cast made of superimposed layers of tape on a polyethylene sheet. Once dried the film was peeled off and cut into thin strips of about 1.5 x 30 cm. Those strips aligned on the reverse of the shroud in continuity with staggered rows of support lines in running stitches in the unpainted areas around the figure, would provide the necessary support for the painted area. After choosing the appropriate number and location for both the adhesive strips and the support lines, they were first drawn on the Melinex template. The Klucel G film strips were positioned on the back of the shroud and reactivated with IMS only on a few localised spots to be held in place. The shroud was turned over and carefully positioned on the final support fabric slightly tensioned with metal pins on a layer of thin Plastazote (polyethylene) + thick Melinex. The stitching was done with a range of fine dyed silk threads (recipe unknown) to match the colour variations of the original fabric, from the inside of the shroud toward the edges to insure good contact between the two fabrics all over. The stitching started with running stitches for the staggered lines around the painted figure, then couching of the losses and degraded part of the fabric, then an alternation of short (0.5cm) and long (1cm) stitches about 1 cm apart from each other all along the edges of the shroud. Lastly the fringes were slightly rearranged and disentangled but kept in a natural-looking position and couched on the support fabric. (most of the stitching was done by Rosin Morris)Once secured with the stitches, the shroud was turned over once again to allow for the reactivation of the Klucel strips from the reverse. The template was laid face down on the back of the shroud to locate the position of the Klucel G film strips. Those areas were cut out in another Melinex laid on the shroud to prevent the ink from the template to bleed and stain the fabric. Blotting papers dampened with IMS were applied over a layer of Goretex (polytetrafluoro ethylene, polyester laminate) on those areas, covered with Melinex and left under glass weights for 5mins. After reactivation, the blotter and Goretex layers were removed and the area left under the pressure of glass weights overnight.Once ready, the lined shroud was finally supported on a fabric-covered, inert Aerolam F board (glass fibre,epoxy laminate on aluminiun honeycomb).The fabrication of the board was as follow:- Covering the edges of the Areolam board with linen tape applied with diluted Vinamul 3252 (vinyl acetate, ethylene copolymer).- Covering the front of the board with a layer of thin Domette stretched and secured on the back with heat reactivated Vinamul 3252.- Covering the front of the board with a layer of scoured, natural colour cotton Calico also stretched and secured on the back with heat reactivated Vinamul 3252.- Covering the back of the board with a layer of scoured, natural colour cotton Calico stretched and secured to the previous layer with herringbone stitches along the back edges of the board.On 15th september 05 a frame was supplied and fitted by John Jones - Conservation Framing - Job No.: 436106 - (contact Nick Hawker and David Kurash / John Jones I artSauce / Stroud Green Road / Finsbury Park / London N4 3JG).The frame is made of oak sealed with Trimite in the inside. Spacers are made of poplar sealed with aluminium tape coloured to match the backing fabric. The glass is a 6.6mm plain laminate sheet. The back of the board is made of a Correx board which is then sealed with aluminium tape.
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA65669
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