Wall painting from the ceiling of a tomb: winged Victory standing on a branching tendril, wearing a long mauve chiton and holding a crown and palm branch; restored.
- Excavated/Findspot: Tomb of the Nasonii
- (Europe,Italy,Via Flaminia,Tomb of the Nasonii)
- Height: 54 centimetres
- Width: 34.5 centimetres
30 October 2009
Reason for treatment
Surface clean, repair cracks and areas of loss, add support
Since their original removal the wall paintings have undergone massive restorations. The initial intervention was the remounting and flattening of the wall paintings onto canvas and stretching them on a wooden frame. By flattening the wall painting, which was originally on a curved ceiling, large cracks formed horizontally and diagonally across the painting. These have been filled with a wax like material and painted over. There are also several areas of loss.As documented both in the 1933 BM catalogue and in photography, most of the wall painting has been over painted, it is unknown what is original. It is definite that the top half of the wall painting along with the face, right arm and wings are all repainted. In these areas there appears to be a wax overlay on the paint as well as a wax fill on the right hand. There is also a large wax fill on the background next to the left hand. Two definite plaster fills are also visible, one below the feet and the other in the middle of the right side of the painting. Based on Egyptian Blue Imaging it is known that the original figures wings pointed in the opposite direction. It is also possible that the foliate scroll work has been reversed to accommodate the change in the wing shape.
Using smoke sponge, a vulcanized rubber, I lightly cleaned the painted surface and the sides of the frame. This made an immediate change, showing more definition in the colors and the cracks on the surface. A melinex overlay, documenting damage and areas of repair was then carried out, to support the documentation.After examination under a microscope, it was seen that some of the areas of paint and wax were lifting from the surface. The problem section was located in the background in the upper left corner and around the right shoulder and wing. Using 30% Primal B60A in de-ionized water, these areas along with the other open cracks were consolidated. To improve the absorption of the consolidant the areas were pre-wetted using IMS. Both materials were applied through a 5 lambda micro-pipette. IMS was used rather than White Spirits due to the effect the white Spirits had on the waxed areas, causing it to lightly dissolve. On the areas were the paint had lifted from the surface causing movement, weights were used to add pressure in order to secure the pieces. After consolidation, it was visible that two of the three detached areas still had a small amount of movement. These were the two spots on the right shoulder and wing. To prevent further damage the edges were capped using glass Micro-balloons in 10% Paraloid B-72 in Acetone. There were also a few areas where the old wax fills had failed, resulting in gaps in the painting. These were also filled with the micro-balloon in 10% Paraloid B-72 in Acetone. All of these areas were toned in using acrylic paints and documented on the melinex overlay. Once the front side was stable the object was turned over to clean the backside of the mount. This was lightly vacuumed and the edges dry cleaned with smoke sponge. There was also some damage to the paper boarder added from the mounting process. The hole on the top edge was support with glass Micro-balloons in 10% Paraloid B-72 in Acetone and toned with acrylic paints. Also the section of excess plaster on the right edge was toned in with watered down acrylics. Once the above treatment was completed the object was backed on craft board which was screwed into place using the existing holes in the wooden stretcher. The void between the back of the canvas and the craft board was filled with wadding to give gentle support to the canvas. A framing edge of craft board was then built up around the object and held in place with small steel brackets adhered with polyester resin and secured with micro pore tape at each corner.
Greek & Roman Antiquities
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Object reference number: GAA43158
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