Collections Care Consultancy
Preparations for large scale exhibitions and loans via detailed condition reports and tailor made care policies.
Conservation of a limewood Madonna & Child France, c. 1700
The wooden Madonna came to us in an extremely fragile state; the sculpture had suffered extensive loss and damage caused by insect activity, which left much of the structure brittle and extremely vulnerable. Remaining polychromy was present mostly in the recesses of the carving and these areas were also very friable. Much loss to the structure of the wood had occurred specifically to the underneath, which also meant the object was not able to stand.
The client was keen for the object to remain visually unchanged so all interventions were kept to a minimum. The object should be stabilised, past discolored consolidant was to be reduced, loose debris and dust removed and a pad should be introduced to facilitate display. The proper right arm was badly attached and was restored.
The object was sent to ICM UK for humidity-regulated warm air treatment, which destroys all life-cycle stages of insect pests present within the artefact. For this particular object, the main threat was woodboring insects such as the Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum). ICM’s process uses warm air only and is designed to be a very gentle process. There are no chemicals or toxins involved and they specialise in treating historic objects, collection items and works of art.