Technical Interlude pt. 2: Good housekeeping

Technical Interlude pt. 2: Good housekeeping

As promised, here’s an update on one or two developments within the programming department at Compton Verney. Last time, I said I would go in to a bit more detail about our regular programme of conservation cleaning of the artworks in the permanent collections.

At this stage it is probably worth pointing out that the cleaning of artworks is a specialist task that should only be attempted by a trained conservator. As such we do not attempt to clean the surface of paintings, many of which can be rather delicate – we leave that to the pros who carry out any necessary remedial work.

Aneas   Vesperbild   BFA painting

Instead, we focus on regularly cleaning the frames and sculptures. No absolute rule can be given as to the frequency for cleaning  as this will vary depending on the location of the work within the building. Generally speaking, we only do it when an obvious layer of dust has developed. It is estimated that a frame will require dusting every 6-12 months in an average property.

In order to do this, we methodically work our way around every 2D and 3D artwork in the building with a soft brush and a backpack vacuum cleaner, loosening and sucking up as many rogue particles as possible.

JC conservation cleaning 1   Conservation cleaning 4

Conservation cleaning 3   JC conservation cleaning 2

Such careful work, affords the cleaner a rare and intimate view of the surface of the paintings and sculptures, to the extent that apart from getting an up-close look at the particular mark-making techniques of an artist, one becomes quite adept at differentiating old surface consolidation from potentially fresh damage.

I hope you enjoy the images!