Art Conservation Studio

Treatment Examples Blog

Portrait of Sylvester Labadie Jr

French, c. 1794; Pastel on blue laid paper

The pastel may have been damaged in a fire in its past as well as having been previously restored at least twice.  The second time it had been restored to repair extensive tears.  Two old backings were adhered to the verso overall and the last backing was very brittle and acidic resulting in the tear at the top right corner as well and uneven cracking around the sides so that it was partially detached from the wood strainer.  The pastel was released from the strainer by cutting the remaining attached areas of the backing.  The treatment involved removing the acidic backing (leaving most of the first backing in place due to the fragility of the primary support paper in the lower third), reducing the discolored overpaint/pastel, mending tears and adding a new lining of Japanese paper, replacing the bottom 1 1/2” that was “filled” by the acidic backing, inpainting losses of pastel as well as the new fill along the bottom edge, and selectively using pastel to minimize the appearance of tidelines.  The frame was also restored by replacing missing composition elements and filling losses along the rails.

PaperDawn Heller