Panel from a painted wall: Icarus falls to the sea while his father Daedalus flies on unaware. The background is a contemporary Roman setting, with a fortified coastal city and an amphitheatre. This painting is a companion to 1867.5-8.1354.
- Excavated/Findspot: Pompeii
- (Europe,Italy,Campania,Naples (province),Pompeii)
- Height: 35.5 centimetres
- Width: 34.5 centimetres
1990 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.91
1990 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.91
20 October 1999
Reason for treatment
Stabilise cracks due to the bowing of the backing material.
The wallpainting had suffered some minor damage from vibration incurred during the drilling for the Great Court. On examination it transpired that the wallpainting had also bowed. A drawing by Diane Dollery made in 1987, showed the cracks at that time, after the wallpainting was backed with foaming epoxy resin. At this time the wallpainting would have lain flat. It seems that the backing material slowly distorted over a period of time. Certainly the main diagonal cracks traversing the wallpainting were not completley joined, now they are. Examination and the mapping of the open cracks with a microscope revealed the extent of the damage. Structurally, however, the wallpainting was sound held as they were within their polyester resin trays, [see the drawings in the envelope and the slides. There were a few small paint fragments within the main diagonal breaks. Because of its stability it was decided to leave the backing structures alone. A previous consolidant [unknown] has turned the blue pigment green in the area above the harbour building at the proper right of the wallpainting, and across the window opening in this building.
The wallpainting was Xero-radiographed [with Janet Lang and Dave Thickett] to try to establish the source of the distortion. No conclusion was be drawn. The polyester trays with their fastenings showed up well. Only some of the cracks showed. Minute swabs of acetone and meths showed that the painted borders contained a paint medium which was disturbed by them, and obviously any related solvents. White spirit and toluene had no effect. The central painting appeared to have been painted onto fresh lime plaster and was very stable. At some time the whole wallpainting had been coated with a waxy substance, very thickly towards the outer edges of the outer border. This material fills the score mark which traverses the painting's upper central half. The coating, although it had absorbed dirt and darkened slightly, seemed to be effective. The plaster was sound therefore a glue rather than a consolidant seemed most appropriate and one where the exess could be removed with white spirit or toluene. Primal AC33 was tried but it was impossible to get it to run into the cracks especially after a prior wetting with white spirit. Vinamul 2352 at full strength for the major cracks and slightly less so for the minor cracks with a prior wetting with white spirit proved most effective. Excess could be removed with white spirit or toluene. This treatment removed the coating on the wallpainting in the region of the cracks. After the coating has been analysed [Dave Thickett], it will be replaced. The back of the wallpainting has been flattened with polyester resin. It is proposed to stick sorbothane rubber to the back and lower edge of the painting as added protection. The coating was analysed as beeswax with a later application of polyvinyl alcohol, [Cons. Research report 1999/21]. Where this coating was removed, it was replaced with Cosmolloid 80H wax. Sorbothane has been placed on the painting's lower edge and back surface.
Greek & Roman Antiquities
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Object reference number: GAA1129
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