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
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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