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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Filling-in Areas of Loss

by Kelly Rectenwald, Associate Objects Conservator


behind the scenes , objects conservation , CAMConservation

Here’s an update on the treatment of the two ceramic jars we started last fall. After removing all the old adhesive and over paint, we revealed several areas of loss to the painted scene on the glazed surface. This loss was likely caused by the same incident that damaged the foot causing the piece to break into multiple fragments.

On close inspection, it became clear that the areas of over paint were not original to the design, as they did not contain the details of the surrounding designs as painted by the artist. In the first photo you can see the large areas of white fill revealing the area of glaze loss. Referencing photos of other works by this artist (of similar painted scenes), we filled in the areas of loss to mimic the general shape of the designs, without fully recreating the details. This approach to conservation allows the losses to be less noticeable so the surface design can be appreciated as a complete scene. The treatment of the two jars is now finished—you can see both on display in Gallery 206.