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OIL PAINT CONSERVATION

Oil Paint was used in antique furniture and woodwork as a means of enhancing decoration with figurative designs or painting, or imitating more expensive woods, or other materials which may not have been readily available, such as tortoise shell, or expensive marquetry. Often used on primitive furniture, paint decorated hope or dowery chests, room paneling, clocks, mirrors, pianos, neoclassical  cabinetry, and other furniture.


Oil Paint Conservation/George II Clock


When paint is hundreds of years old, it may be in need of conservation. There are a variety of reasons for conserving paint finishes:

 

Removing later varnishes without removing the original paint,

Removing overpainting covering beautiful original paint,

Infilling missing designs, that may have been damaged or lost adhesion and flaked off

Fire or smoke damage

Move damages

 

Some examples of oil paint conservation projects are shown below:

 

George II Tallcase Clock, ca. 1760

 



 



Eglomaise painted and gilt glass panels replicated, after

Eglomaise painted and gilt glass panels replicated, after


Eglomaise painted glass showing loss of adhesion and physical damages before

Eglomaise painted glass showing loss of adhesion and physical damages before


Eglomaise painted and gilt glass- after

Eglomaise painted and gilt glass- after


Eglomaise painted glass showing loss of adhesion and  physical damages before

Eglomaise painted glass showing loss of adhesion and physical damages before

 

 

The severe damage to the original glass was unacceptable to the owner, who elected to restore to original condtion.

 

Primitive Pennsylvania German Dowery Chest, ca. 1809

 

Pennsylvania German settlers had a long history of paint decoration of furniture, to apply culturally important decoration, and often to enhance inexpensive use of woods, to resemble more costly imported woods not available in rural areas.



Chest with milk paint decoration produced in Pennsylvania suffering from physical damages and long usage

Chest with milk paint decoration produced in Pennsylvania suffering from physical damages and long usage


Top of chest shown restored, leaving significant distress intact, not over-restored

Top of chest shown restored, leaving significant distress intact, not over-restored


Front of Pennsylvania Dutch chest after conservation of milk paint finish

Front of Pennsylvania Dutch chest after conservation of milk paint finish


Bracket foot showing considerable distress- before

Bracket foot showing considerable distress- before


Pennsylvania Dutch chest


Oil Painting Portrait Conservation of Polychrome Painting on Canvas, artist unknown, ca. early Nineteenth Century

 

Oil Painting Portrait Conservation of Polychrome Painting on Canvas Before Oil Painting Portrait Conservation of Polychrome Painting on Canvas After

Before
After


Before condition poor, canvas weak, paint extensively crazed, overvarnish oxidized, ripped Before condition poor, canvas weak, paint extensively crazed, overvarnish oxidized, ripped

Before condition poor, canvas weak, paint extensively crazed, overvarnish oxidized, ripped

 



Painting during cleaning, prior to repair Oil Painting Cleaning almost complete

Painting during cleaning, prior to repair

 

Oil Painting Cleaning almost complete


Painting during filling of tears Conservation complete, new varnish applied

Painting during filling of tears

 

Conservation complete, new varnish applied






Oil Paint Gallery



               Polychrome Leather