5 June 2009
Document and examine the surface, previous treatments and ancient painterly techniques
Stabilize the surface and mud support. Remove backing plate and join together with
EA 37981 in new foaming epoxy mount.
The object is mounted in plaster of Paris set into an inner wooden box frame covered with a wood veneer. The front of the frame is glazed. The plaster of Paris mount is flush with the paint surface completely covering the original arricio(mud plaster). The underside of the plaster mount is concave. This means there is a gap between the backboard from the box frame and the underside of the arricio. There is only a thin skin of plaster covering the arricio's underside leaving the weight of the fragment supported only by the corners of its plaster mount.The only additional support is a single wooden beam embedded vertically across the fragment underside but fixed into the wood frame. The mount does not appear stable.
The surface of the object is very dusty. The intonacco is delaminating from the arriccio in several places but mainly along the perimeter areas of the fragment, identified by a hollow sound on gently tapping the surface. All along the perimeter the intonacco is stained pale yellow and there are small craquelee cracks most likely a result from the drying of the plaster mount. There are numerous cracks in the entire intonacco some extending through to the arricio. Additionally, there are losses, abrasions and some powdering in the intonacco and there is impact damage as well as a small but deep cut along the register line on the proper right inflicted when the paintig was removed from the tomb wall.
The paint layers are flaking in many areas, there is powdering and there are many losses. The blue and green frit are particularly fragile due to loss or shrinkage of the binding medium.
Areas along the edges are worst affected. Several hairline crack are visible across the entire paint surface. There is evidence of a shiny coating over some, mainly black, paint layers possibly an old attempt at consolidation.
The object was thoroughly examined under a microscope. Observations on ancient painterly techniques, past treatments and present treatments were recorded individually as technical information hard copy (see envelope for detailed information) and are also available as detailed Photoshop layered file on memory stick.
The object was lightly dry cleaned with low suction vaccuum cleaner.
Loose paint flakes were consoilidated with 12% w/v Primal B60A (acrylic) in deionized water fed underneath the paint flakes by brush and aided by Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) used as wetting agent. Powdery areas of intonacco were consolidated with several applications of 1.5% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone)/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol)(1:1). Fragile areas of arricio were consolidated with 20% Primal B60A (acrylic) with a syringe useing Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) as a wetting agent.
The object was required to be joined into one object with EA37981. To that end the old plaster of Paris mount encasing the object was mechanically removed in stages with a minidrill. The exposed original arricio was consolidated with 20% Primal B60A (acrylic) sprayed on useing Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) as a wetting agent.Tin foil coated with 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone)/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol)(1:1) left to dry and then reactivated with a heated spatula was adhered to the arricio sides. A paste of microcell glass balloons in 20% w/v Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone)/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol)(1:1) was applied to the arricio underside and over the tin foil on the sides to act as an interface between original material and the new mount enabling future reversibility. The object was then aligned with EA37981(Banquet with musicians) and a new single mount was cast around both objects using Araldite CW2215 (foamed epoxy) foaming epoxy resin. In order to strenghten the mount of the newly joined object a solid hard wood cross braced frame was encased into the foaming Epoxy resin. To enable the fragment to be positioned just above EA37986(Banquet with guests) the collar on the lower edge was kept to a minimum and strenghtened with a right-angled stainless steel plate fixed to the wooden frame inside the resin mount.
The new resin mount collar was kept approximately 5mm below the top of the arricio. For display purpose a thin layer of Polyfilla Plasta Repair was applied to the top surface of the collar. The gap between the join edges of EA37984 and EA37981 was only filled with Microcell glass balloons in 20% w/v Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone)/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol)(1:1) and retouched to match the appearance of the arricio.