Wall painting from a tomb: Rape of Proserpina; Pluto in a quadriga to right, carrying Proserpina in his arms; partly restored.
- Excavated/Findspot: Tomb of the Nasonii
- (Europe,Italy,Via Flaminia,Tomb of the Nasonii)
- Height: 71 centimetres
- Length: 98 centimetres
19 October 2009
Reason for treatment
Light Clean. Consolidation. Gaps capped. Capps toned. Construct a mounting system.
The Painting has been mounted on to canvass, (possibly adhered using animal glue, although this has not been tested), applied over a wooden stretcher. Two sides of the stretcher have had wooden battons added on to them. The wood had then been screwed on to a backing board, made of several wooden sections. This board had a fair amount of flex, as does the stretcher. Paper adhesive strip had been used around the edges of the front of the painting, and down the sides of the frame, and there are iron nails beneath the paper on the return edges of the wood. This has been painted, mostly red.A large crack runs along the bottom of the front, running appoximately 40-50mm from the bottom edge. The proper left corner is mostly restoration (painted plaster) with the crack running through it and then vertically, approximately 60mm from the proper left edge. There are several areas of restorations over the whole of the painting, however this corner and some areas above are the worst effected. Cracks also exist in the proper right top corner, the proper right edge and along the top edge (above the wooden stretcher). The proper top left and centre left have again areas of restoration, extreme cracking and paint loss. The area over the last horse's head has dropped below the surface height of the rest of the painting. Some areas of cracks are present over the chests of the horses. Ramen images available on DA show the edges of the original plaster. Hinks, R.P., 1933. Catalogue of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Paintings and Mosaics at The British Museum. London: BM. lists the restorations carried out whilst in the care of its last owner before coming to the museum. This includes removing "bad modern over painting" and resoring using water colours and covering in a wax varnish. Previous restorations clearly include oil paints and pigmented wax fills as well as the described water-colours and plaster fills. The whole painting has surface dust and dirt.
The loose dirt on the surface was removed by carefully brushing using a soft haired paint brush in to the vacuum cleaner. Particularly vulnerable areas were either left or the dust brushed into a more stable area from which it could be removed. Further cleaning was carried out using Smoke Sponge, a vulcanised natural rubber, laid on to the surface with a little pressure applied and then removed.It was decided to try to keep the consolidation to a minimum as the addition of another material may complicate further problems arising from the movement of the numerous componants of the piece. Therefore only the cracks in the plaster, and the main areas of flaking paint were consolidated. The main areas of paint flaking were where water colour had been used in restorations, but had not adhered to the fill material beneath. These areas were consolidated under magnification (x 5 or 6), using Primal B60A, where the purchased solution is diuted to 8-12%. The large cracks were consolidated using a stronger solution of between 10 - 30% where necessary. Any gaps or holes in the surface were filled using a soft mixture of Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin) mixed with an approximately 10% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in a 50:50 sol of Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone). These areas were then toned in to match their surround using Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic).All areas of treatment were mapped onto a Photoshop image and saved on to DA. Red lines show the consolidated cracks, blue areas show consolidated surface areas and yellow lines show filled and toned areas.A mount to allow handling and sorage of the painting with improved support was then constructed. Polyester wadding was used in the space behind the canvas, within the wooden stretcher. This material was used as it will hold its shape, without sagging, however has enough strength and form to offer support to the canvas, adjusting to its shape. Because the canvas was not taut and the painting itself not flat it was felt that a plasterzote support would be too ridgid. The wooden frame was then screwed on to a ridgid backing board, using screw holes from previous fixings. The board was a product called Wedi Tilebacker, which has a blue Styrofoam™ core and both sides are coated with a polymer-modified cement coating and reinforced with glass fibre. This material as well as the polyester wadding passed all Oddy tests. The edges of this board were sealed using 20% Paraloid B72 in IMS and Acetone. Finally the walls were constructed out of acid free card . These are to allow the painting to be handled and stored without damage occuring to the paper edges of the painting. Thin plasterzote sheets were bonded on to the inside of these card walls to add padding to the sides. It should be noted that IR images were taken of this piece and a considerable amount of Egyptian blue pigment was found to be present. These images can be found on DA.
19 May 2003 - 6 August 2003
Reason for analysis
Radiographic examination of a wallpainting from the tomb of Nasonii, Rome
Analysis reference number
Greek & Roman Antiquities
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Object reference number: GAA42918
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