Robin Hanson, Conservator of Textiles and Sarah Scaturro, Eric and Jane Nord Main Conservator
For the exhibition Cycles of Lifetime: The 4 Seasons Tapestries, the CMA’s Textile Conservator Robin Hanson and Main Conservator Sarah Scaturro took on twin roles — that of exhibition curators as nicely as conservators. This set of four tapestries, woven in Paris in the mid-to late 1700s, is primarily based on Flemish types from 100 decades earlier. Woven of silk, wool, and metal threads, the tapestries array in sizing from eight-and-a-half-feet sq. to 8 by approximately 13 feet.
This project started 15 several years back when Robin participated in a three-working day survey of 36 tapestries in Cleveland’s selection together with Belgian tapestry professional Yvan Maes De Wit. The target of this study was to rank the tapestries in the collection by quality, and then to determine the sum of conservation remedy vital to make them prepared for exhibition. Primarily based on that study, the Four Seasons Tapestries ended up picked as the maximum priority for procedure. Two Learn of Art candidates in the joint CMA/CWRU Artwork History and Museum Reports undertook artwork historic study on the tapestries. Their research assisted to even further confirm this set’s great importance and present data that is now readily available to the community via our Selection On the internet platform.
Once funding was secured to address them, these four tapestries, along with four others in the collection, had been despatched to Mechelen, Belgium, in Could 2018 for treatment method at Royal Manufacturers De Wit all eight returned to Cleveland in September 2019 after remedy was full. Though the CMA has a textile conservation lab on-web-site, dealing with tapestries involves a substantial place, specialised tools, and a group of textile conservators properly trained in tapestry conservation to undertake the therapy. Treating the tapestries in Cleveland’s textile lab would not have been probable. Cleveland’s partnership with De Wit extends back again to the late 1990s, when the set of 8 Dido and Aeneas tapestries on show in the Armor Courtroom (fig. 2) was despatched to Mechelen for therapy. Considering the fact that then, 20 tapestries in Cleveland’s assortment have now been addressed by De Wit.
De Wit utilizes a two-move stitching system. Initially, weak places are stabilized to boost the tapestry by putting patches of cotton or linen powering spots of loss. Exposed warps are stitched to the patch applying a matching thread. Sometimes the patches are compact, but often they may address significant sections if an location is specially destroyed. Then will come restoration — which is the addition of new elements to visually finish an spot. New thread is stitched on top of the patches to full the photograph. When considered from afar, the repairs are harmonious and virtually indiscernible, but if considered up close, the new stitches are visually distinctive, enabling viewers to differentiate first parts of the tapestry from restorations. You see below the system: on the still left is the destroyed space, in the middle the reduction has been stabilized, and on the suitable you see the restored place (figs. 3a–c).
In addition to conservation remedy itself, conservators undertake written and photographic documentation of objects currently being addressed, each just before procedure begins, in the course of therapy, and soon after cure is finish. They also undertake complex assessment to superior have an understanding of the objects they are managing. The wool and silk threads were identified working with a polarized gentle microscope. Dye analysis was finished in collaboration with the conservation scientists at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Researchers recognized pure dyes sourced from equally vegetation and bugs that are indicative of resources in use through the time the tapestries were built. Likewise, the metal threads were analyzed at the Swagelok Middle for Area Assessment of Resources, situated within the Faculty of Engineering at Circumstance Western Reserve College. Scanning Electron Microscopy with Strength Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) detected a silver and gold alloy with trace amounts of copper in the metal strips wrapped all-around a silk core, which is a normal construction for steel threads in the 1700s (figs. 4b and 4c).These collaborations prolong Cleveland’s abilities in the realm of scientific analysis, and in the end advantage all the institutions associated by the sharing of awareness.