As an Armenian from Jerusalem’s Old City, I have lived amongst history thousands of years old. However my grandfather, Ohannes Markarian; a Master Watchmaker, instilled in me a love for antiquity. Growing up with the Israel Museum, I learned to appreciate an object’s cultural dignity and heritage. This turned into restoration and conservation work upon Iron Age relics, Roman Period artifacts, and Crusader and Muslim Era objects in both the museum’s and Israel Antiquities Authority’s labs. My learning experience has taken me to Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, Matenadaran, Yerevan, Armenia and the British Library. I’m thankful for the fine program at the University of Lincoln.
Owner: Louise Wood
UL No: 20/010
A Victorian needlepoint seat cover with pink background and purple grapes on a vine, comprised of wool and cotton threads. The front had lots of loose threads, a stain, was slightly dirty, and was creased. On the back side of the textile were lots of feathers; there was adhesive in the top corners of the edging. A fugitive dye test was carried out on the fibres before wet cleaning and a solvent test was carried out on the old adhesive. Feathers were removed and stored in a sample bag and particles of soiling were cleaned by museum vacuum. Tests were conducted on the pH of the colorful fabric, border, and stain. The object was stitched to a screen netting using a curved needle and colorfast thread. It was then soaked twice in water for 10 minutes (while pH tests were conducted), with 15ml of a non-ionic detergent, Dehypon LS45. When wet cleaning was complete the screen was removed, and the textile was blotted dry before being pinned flat to dry with a hot air blower.
Victorian Needlepoint Seat Cover
Earthenware Tulip Vase c. late 1880s.
Owner: John Haestier
UL No: 17/104
The vase has five stem holders and is designed with a crest. One of the holders had previously been incorrectly repaired, and the adhesive had turned yellow; there was chipped yellow glaze and a thin grey layer of dirt on the bottom half of the vase. The vase was cleaned with damp cotton swabs, then dried with a cotton cloth. A scalpel was used to remove the previous adhesive. The lower section of the vase was steam cleaned with conservation-grade steam generator. In order to remove the previous repair, the vase had to be taken apart using Paramose, a very strong solvent-based paint/varnish stripper. The sherds were cleaned and then re-adhered with Paraloid B72 using the ‘dry stick’ method. Acetone was used to remove the dirt inside the stem holders. Areas where the glaze had chipped were filled and sanded smooth. Acrylic paint was mixed with a gloss medium in order to colour match the filled areas.
Owner: British Library
The typewriter originally from Shanghai, China, had extensive surface dirt which was removed with water and white spirit. The random patches of old adhesive across the surface were removed by three different methods: clear sellotape wrapped around one’s finger, and with a tapping motion, used to pick up the patches of adhesive; a cotton wool ball or a cotton bud soaked in water then dried using cotton wool balls. One of the plastic parts of the typewriter was broken in two. The most appropriate adhesive for rebinding the pale blue polymer (identified, via the infrared spectrometer, as a polystyrene), was a water-based polymer so EVA was chosen. Because of EVA’s viscosity, it was not applied straight away but poured into a watch glass and left to become tacky. Then a brush was used to apply the EVA on both sides of the broken part before the repair was made. Once it had dried, the excess was removed using fingernails in order not to scrape the surface.
‘Double Pigeon’ Typewriter c. 1975
Leather-bound Photo-case c. 1880’s
Owner: Fuller Baptist Church; Owner’s Number: 27
With a sheep’s leather exterior; red velvet interior with a brass framed, glass-covered photograph and a wooden base structure. The leather casing had shrunk, warped, cracked, and been torn off in some areas. The wood was chipped and warped, splitting the hinge. The cardboard was warped and torn. The top leather border was missing, and the top velvet border was largely detached. At the bottom border of the frame the central decoration was badly distorted, with a fragile hinge. The glass, wood, and cardboard were dirty, and the brass had corroded. The velvet was dirty and had a negative imprint of the frame on it, with dirt deposits embedded between the leather and the velvet, directly under the frame. The leather was dirty and worn. White spirit was used to clean the leather, then to clean the brass (but with the addition of a hard brush and scalpel). Working underneath the microscope, a scalpel was used to remove the corrosion in the more ornate areas. The velvet was dry-cleaned with a satay stick and re-adhered, where necessary, using EVA adhesive. Once dried, a small surgical needle was used to re-stitch the velvet border using thread of a similar colour. Any detached leather was re-bonded while new leather was thinned, cut to fit and adhered with Beva (adhesive film) using a tacking iron. The torn cardboard at the front of the case was re-attached with EVA and the glass was cleaned with distilled water.