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The Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), based in Maastricht, The Netherlands, is pleased and excited to announce the award of grant from the Getty Foundation under the Conserving Canvas initiative. The grant will be used to organise a workshop at SRAL in 2019, aimed at mid-career conservators, to further disseminate the so-called 'Mist-Lining' technique developed at SRAL in the late 1990s.

SRAL is very honored to be one of the first recipients of the Getty Foundation's new initiative. Other inaugural grants have gone to the following institutions: Henry E. Huntington Library & Art Gallery, Pasadena, California; the National Gallery, London; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Statens Historiska Museer, Sweden; the University of Glasgow, Scotland and Yale University.

Lining canvas paintings has ever been a contentious treatment. This well-known process involves the adherence of a secondary canvas to the reverse of the original canvas support. The intention is to return stability to the original support, at the same time and often in the same action, to resolve other structural issues. Techniques and materials have evolved, often on a geographical basis, to deal with a wide range of structural problems. Most canvas paintings, older than those dating from the mid-nineteenth century, have been lined, and at times re-lined. This treatment has also been practiced on modern paintings. The choice of lining process by the conservator-restorer tends to be dependent upon studio tradition.
The 'Mist-Lining' process showed many advantages. It uses an acrylic resin sprayed to an auxiliary textile support, to create an open adhesive network that can be regenerated in-situ using solvents. Bonding occurs under light pressure without the use of excessive heat or moisture. Solvent vapours or gentle heat can be used to swell or tackify the adhesive, allowing future de-lining with little or no adhesive remaining attached to the original textile. The system, in essence, uses no moisture or heat and can be classified as a cold-lining system forming a nap-bond. The lining adhesive remains sandwiched between the two canvases with no impregnation of the original textile or decorative layers, which aids reversibility unlike the more traditional lining systems.
The technique has been used by SRAL very successfully for lining large-scale paintings, paintings previously lined with wax-resin or glue-paste adhesives, as well as small easel paintings. It has also been used to provide structural support to art works on paper and for unpainted textiles. 
The grant provided by the Getty Foundation, will provide funding for a workshop, held in two-phases that will disseminate this technique to a wider professional audience. The workshops will be devised for a mid-career group of conservators. The first phase will consist of a plenary week-long hands-on overview of the 'Mist-Lining' system that will ensure the promotion of in-depth learning about this particular conservation practice and stimulate a collaborative network of instructors, specialists, experts and trainees. The second phase of the workshop consists of practical sessions in which the same participants from the first phase will come to Maastricht, but in smaller groups, to carry out a complete treatment using the 'Mist Lining' process. 
The aim of the workshop would be to increase the participants' awareness of the versatility as well as limitations of the 'Mist-Lining' process. The combination where theoretical concepts are presented in the form of case studies and demonstrated through practical sessions will lead to discussion, and provide an integrated balance of practice and theory. The concrete experience of the lining demonstrations will be distilled into an abstract concept from which the implications and variables can be considered. These implications can be tested in further practical sessions and will serve as guides in creating new approaches in the participating conservator's daily practice.
The maximum number of participants for the first plenary workshop will be sixteen. Selection will take place through an open call that will be issued in October  of 2018. The target audience for these workshops would be mid-career conservators who have between 7-15 years of experience in the field. All applicants are expected to be active in the field of structural repair of canvas paintings.  Those working in the museum environment will be given preference, although private conservators working regularly on museum collections may also apply. We hope that there will be candidates  not only from Europe and North America, but also from other geographical areas that have a need of up-to-date knowledge on contemporary practice in this area of conservation. We therefore aim for a global reprobation via a selection process through application. 

Further information can be found at:

http://www.getty.edu/foundation/initiatives/current/conservingcanvas/index.html
For more information or to submit inquiries for consideration, organizations may contact conservingcanvas@getty.edu.

 

The Indian Conservation Fellowship Program (ICFP) is pleased to announce the call for applicants for the Fourth Year of the project.

 
The Deadline for applications will be 1st November 2018. Selected candidates only will be called for interview in December 2018 (dates to be decided). 
The fellowships are designed to broaden the experience of conservators currently working in art and cultural heritage Museums and institutions in India. The fellowships will be for a period of 3-6 months each with 6-8 fellowships awarded annually over a 5 year period, with the first year’s fellowships beginning in the fall of 2016.
The Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg ( SRAL), Maastricht, the Netherlands:
- Paintings and Historic Interiors Conservation
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA), New York, USA:
- Objects Conservation (sculpture, objects, furniture, musical instruments and archaeological materials)
- Paper Conservation
- Textile Conservation
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Museums of Asian Art, (FG):
- Paper Conservation
 
Requirements
Applicants must be a conservator with daily responsibility of the care of objects to apply. Fellows must be Indian citizens and should have strong knowledge of spoken and written English. Preference will be given to conservators at a relatively early stage of their professional careers (approximately 3-8 years conservation experience) and employed by museums of other institutions in India concerned with the study, conservation and display of the country’s artistic and cultural heritage. Candidates must be employed at their current institutions for at least 3 years on the date of application. A good knowledge of conservation principles and basic academic background in conservation practice and artists’ materials is expected.
Each fellowship will be for a period of 3-6 months. Accommodation and living expenses for food and other items during the fellowship period will be covered. It is expected that the applicants’ salaries will continue at their home institutions as specified in the employers’ statement requested below. The fellowship will include support for travel to the host institution as well as research travel for conferences, seminars and visits to other conservation laboratories or cultural institutions. Health care coverage, visa expenses and costs for residence permits are also covered. At the end of their fellowship, fellows will be able to purchase tools, equipment and supplies for use at their home institutions.
Further details are included in the attached brochure.
 
Applications will be accepted only via the following portal: 
https//appizehive.com/appform/login/indian conservationfellowship
Please follow instructions provided in the attached brochure.
 
 

SRAL on TEFAF Maastricht for the fifth time round, 8th -  18th march 2018

It has become a great tradition that SRAL - the art conservation and research institute, and provincial heritage centre of excellence - presents itself at TEFAF Maastricht.  At the Chapeau– Maastricht Region stand (nr. 707, on the First Floor at TEFAF Paper) you have the opportunity to meet representatives of the SRAL staff.
At this year’s stand SRAL is presenting the conservation and restoration of the unique gilt-leather ensemble from the historic town hall in Maastricht. The hand-painted leather wall-hanging represents a so-called Chinoiserie and was commissioned by mayor Van Slijpe in 1737. A London based gilt-leather studio designed and manufactured the wall-hangings. Over the last few centuries the Maastricht gilt-leather ensemble has repeatedly undergone invasive treatment campaigns. The varnish layers that were applied during these treatments have since discoloured and hazed, and the unstable hanging system requires refitting.
The current treatment of the approximately 66m2 will take up to nine months to be completed.  Part of the treatment can be followed in the SRAL restoration studio at the Bonnefanten Museum, which is open to the public. Presently the five monumental chimney paintings from the town hall are also being restored in the SRAL studio at the Bonnefanten Museum.

You are cordially invited to visit us at TEFAF 2018 and “take a peak“  behind the scenes in our studio at the Bonnefanten Museum.

Demonstration Day Spectral Imaging : XPECAM platform by XPECTRALTEK, António Cardoso, 20th April 2018

Overview
The workshop will focus on the current Spectral Imaging Technology used in active and preventive art conservation. The basic principles of spectral imaging will be discussed, and the available technological solutions explained. Potential applications on cultural heritage will be presented from real case studies, and the future perspectives will be discussed.
XpectralTEK is a company with focus on imaging diagnostic, creating tools to assist professionals in their daily work. It offers quality proven solutions, with specialisation in spectral imaging.
XpectralTEK have developed a system capable of high resolution imaging in real time. Two systems already exist: XpeCAM X01, which operates between 350-1200nm and captures images with up to 30 bandwidths, and XpeCAM X01-DOC which operates between 350-1150nm with 11 bandwidth. Both systems are driven by proprietary XpecEYE software that is fully functional and easy to use. These will be demonstrated during this one day event.

The seminar will be lead by António Cardoso, www.xpectraltek.com 

Agenda
10:30    Welcome and Coffee
11:00    Introduction: Spectral Imaging in Art Conservation XPECAM Platform: Current Technology
12:00    Lunch break (at own cost)
13:00    Hands-on session: XpeCAM equipment and software
15:00    Advanced Post Processing Analysis 
15.30    Coffee Break 
16:00    Discussion session: Technology sum-up and questions
16:30    End of Spectral Imaging Workshop

Price: € 70 euros

Fees will include refreshments only. Please bring your own lunch.

There will be 15 places available for:

  • conservators in museum or private practice
  • conservation scientists
  • technical art historians
  • imaging specialists

Registration forms are available online or at info@sral.nl

Registration Deadline 1st April 2018.

Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel through SRAL.

Organisers: Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

This event is sponsored by EU funding: Norte2020 and Portugal 2020

Seminar Contemporary Art Conservation in practice: New approaches in decision-making, treatment techniques and the collection care for modern art by Lydia Beerkens, 4th - 6th April 2018 at SRAL Studios

Overview
The material given in the seminar is directed towards the latest developments in this field.

Lectures on:

  • Contemporary materials and techniques in the art production
  • Different ways of decision making
  • Ethics and aesthetics in the (conservation)treatment of modern art
  • Strategies for a tailored (specific?) approach per Art Movement (kinetic art, Zero art, Arte Povera, Outdoor Sculptures etc.)
  • The artist’s involvement and guidelines for daily practice 

Platform discussion:

  • on conservation issues and case studies from the participants

Practical sessions:

  • Recognising plastics in your collection
  • The Artist Interview as a tool in conservation

Visit:

  • A local artist studio
  • Public Art route Maastricht

The seminar will consist of a series of Lectures, a Platform Discussion and Practical Sessions lead by Dr. Lydia Beerkens, Senior Conservator Modern and Contemporary Art at SRAL. In addition, a visit to a local Maastricht artist will be organised for the group. The seminar will also include an outdoor session (weather permitting) discussing issues relating to outdoor sculptures in public spaces.
Lydia Beerkens is a leading researcher and practitioner in modern art conservation, and has worked in this field for museum and corporate collections for 20 years now. She teaches, lectures and publishes internationally and is involved in various research projects.
This three-day workshop focuses on the theory and practice in conservation of modern and contemporary art, a relatively new specialisation within the field of art conservation. The workshop will discuss major themes such as decision making, ethics and aesthetics, the role of the artist through a varied selection of cases from the studio practice including topics as plastics conservation, preservation of kinetic Art, The Artist Interview as a tool, on the cleaning of Zero artworks, and Sculptures in public space.

Aim/Who can participate:
There will be 18-20 places available for:

  • Young and Mid-career conservators in modern art conservation.
  • Collection managers and Curators in Contemporary Art.

Call for case-studies:

The participants are welcomed to bring in case-studies from their own practice to be discussed during the platform session on conservation issues.

The workshop language is English.

Seminar fees:
€550.00
Seminar fees will include lunches.

Registration forms are available on the SRAL website and should be returned to info@sral.nl by 1 March 2018.

Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel through SRAL.

Registration sent to info@sral.nl by 1st March 2018. Applicants will be selected on relevance of their daily working practice in the field of modern art conservation. Applications will be informed by 31st March 2017 of their place.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Europe’s top heritage Award will be presented to the Bosch Research and Conservation Project on 23 November 2017

The outstanding Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP), Grand Prix winner of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2017, Europe’s highest honour in the field, will be celebrated at a special ceremony at the Radboud University Nijmegen on Thursday 23 November (18:15-19:00; Radboud University, Gymnasion, “Sportcafé”, Heyendaalseweg 141, 6525 AJ Nijmegen). Persbericht

Workshop: Modern Resins for Varnishing and Retouching, Jill Whitten, Robert Proctor & René de la Rie 19th - 21st March 2018

Instructors
René de la Rie (University of Amsterdam & CRCC, Paris) received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands. He is currently chercheur associée at the Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC/CNRS), Paris and a guest researcher at the UvA. He was head of the scientific research department at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC from 1989 until 2012, a position endowed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He has also held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and at the Training Program for Conservators (now UvA) and the Central Research Laboratory for Objects of Art and Science (later ICN, now RCE), both in Amsterdam. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of New York and the UvA and served as Ph.D. advisor at the latter institution. He was an editor for the journal Studies in Conservation on from 1994 un l 2011 and has published extensively.
Jill Whitten and Robert Proctor have been in private practice in Houston, Texas since 1998. They work on private and institutional collections.
Jill Whitten received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art at the University of Texas, Austin. She studied conservation at Buffalo State College, where she received a Master of Arts and a Certificate in Conservation. She has worked as a conservator and undertaken resin research at the Art Institute of Chicago, J. Paul Getty Museum and the National Gallery of Art. She treated a collection of paintings by Frederic Remington at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Since 1993 she has been lecturing and teaching workshops on resins for varnishing and retouching in North and South America and Europe.
Robert Proctor has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Tulane University in New Orleans and a Master of Arts and Certificate of Conservation from Buffalo State College. He trained in Munich at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, worked at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In addition to workshops on varnishes, Rob is a specialist in the reweaving of tears and has taught workshops on reweaving. He has worked as a contract conservator and treated a number of public murals.

Overview
Many different materials have been used for varnishing and retouching. Traditionally, natural resins were primarily used for this purpose. In the 20th century synthetic polymers were introduced. These are often chemically and physically more stable than their natural counterparts. The optical properties of varnishes are however largely controlled by their molecular weight. By using synthetic low molecular weight resins for varnishing and retouching, an appearance similar to that obtained using natural resins can be achieved. Factors affecting stability and appearance, as well as application methods and solvents suitable for these new resins, will be discussed.
The workshop will focus on synthetic low molecular weight resins and how they differ from polymers and dammar. Participants will use practical sessions to evaluate the properties of resins used as varnishes in terms of their application and appearance. Through these practical sessions and demonstrations, participants will establish how the choice of resin, solvent or stabiliser will affect the properties of the varnish not only on application but subsequently upon ageing. Participants will leave the master class with an individual canvas board (60x80cm) on which at least 15 varnish recipes have been tested.

Lectures will cover:

  • Function of varnishes
  • Chemical properties of resins and their degradation
  • Factors affecting optical characteristics of varnishes
  • Effects of stabilisers
  • Retouching media
  • Criteria for choosing appropriate varnishes
  • Varnish application techniques
  • Solvent selection: polarity, solvent strength and evaporation rates

Materials:
Varnishes and artist canvas boards will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their favourite brush for applying varnish.


Workshop fees:
€ 825.00
Workshop fees will include lunches.
Deadline for registration: 1 February 2018
Numbers are limited to 15 participants and are allocated on a first come basis.
Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel only through SRAL.

Organisers:
Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

Workshop: Solvents and Paint Films, the practical ramifications by Gwendoline R. Fife at SRAL Studios, 23rd - 25th April 2018

Overview
The aim of the workshop is to support practitioners in their practical applications of solvents. This will be achieved by providing a review of knowledge with an overview including recent research into solvent effects, current findings into solvent application techniques, and an open forum for discussions covering workshop participants’ questions, practical experiences and opinions regarding solvent choices and application.

Content
Review of

  • Matter and Energy - the basis of everything, and why anything ever happens (atoms, molecules, ions, molecular/ionic models, interactions and reactions.)
  • Organic solvents, solvation, and the influence of environment.
  • Dissolution and Rate – Will it dissolve? How fast?
  • Conceptual models for solvent behaviour.
  • Applications in Conservation.
  • Potential solvent effects on paint films.
  • Applications in practice.
  • Treatment adaptations.
  • Assessing risk - practical testing approaches.
  • Selecting treatment strategies.

A more detailed description of the workshop is available on request.

Instructor
Since 2005 Gwendoline R. Fife has worked at SRAL where she is a senior (practicing) conservator and lecturer. After graduating in chemistry (BscHons, York university, 1994), she trained in easel painting conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London (PGDipCons, 1997). Following her subsequent Mellon Fellowship (Walters Museum, Baltimore, 1998-2001) she worked in various museum and private conservation studios in the USA, Ireland, UK and The Netherlands prior to her current position.

Workshop fees
€ 550.00
Workshop fees will include lunches.

Deadline for registration
15 March 2018
Numbers are limited to 15 participants and are allocated on a first come basis.

Organisers
Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel only through SRAL.

 

Workshop: Framing techniques and microclimate enclosures for Panel Paintings by Sara Mateu, 21-23 February 2018 at SRAL Studios, Maastricht

Overview

  • A history of framing;
  • Framing as a preventive conservation strategy;
  • Guidelines for framing panel paintings;
  • Planning for exhibition, storage, transport and handling;
  • Framing systems: current trends and materials;
  • Framing small & medium panel paintings;
  • Framing larger panels with flexible battens;
  • Microclimate frames: history and evolution;
  • Making a microclimate frame: the process step-by-step;
  • MarvelSeal® envelopes: design and implementation;
  • Making a MarvelSeal® envelope: the process step-by-step.

The workshop will consist of a series of lectures and practical sessions lead by Sara Mateu Sara is a freelance Paintings conservator based in Brussels. She specialised in structural and preventive conservation of panel paintings and takes part on the Getty’s Foundation Panel Paintings Initiative.

A more detailed description of the workshop is available on request.

Workshop fees: € 775.00
Deadline for registration: 15 January 2018
Workshop fees will include lunches.
Numbers are limited to 15 participants and are allocated on a first come basis.
Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel only through SRAL.
Organisers: Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

Technical Photography Dr Antonino Cosentino, Cultural Heritage Science Open Source (CHSOS), 24th - 26th January 2018 at SRAL Studios

Overview
SRAL will host the CHSOS three day training workshop on ‘Practical Methods for Art Examination’. CHSOS serves an international audience of art professionals: conservators, art historians, and conservation scientists. Its technical innovations and strategies are being adopted by museums and cultural institutions worldwide. CHSOS disseminates this knowledge through the CHSOS website, publications, and training programmes.
CHSOS training programmes teach practical methods for Art Examination and Documentation. The modules illustrate imaging and spectroscopy methods regularly used by cultural heritage scientists and conservators for the scientific and forensic investigation of art objects.
All the training modules have hands-on activities and students practice with the CHSOS equipment.
The ideal audience is made of art and archaeology professionals: conservators, conservation scientists, art appraisers and fine art photography. No specific educational background is necessary. CHSOS courses are designed for a large audience ranging from art professionals to scientists.
A Technical Photography documentation consists of a collection of scientific images realised with a modified digital camera sensitive to the spectral range about 360-1000 nm. Each image provides just a bit of information but all together they represent the most practical and successful methodology to study art and archaeology.
www.chsopensource.org

Training modules
CHSOS offers instruction on these methods:
Technical Photography (TP), Panoramic Infrared Reflectography (PIRR), Reflectance Spectroscopy (RS), ReflectanceTransformation Imaging (RTI) and Multispectral Imaging (MSI).

This 3-day training program will present all the methods:
1st day. Technical Photography
2nd day. Infrared Reflectography, Reflectance spectroscopy, RTI
3rd day. Multispectral Imaging

Instructor Biography
The Training program will be run by Dr Antonino Cosentino. CHSOS’s director. Dr. Antonino Cosentino is a Ph.D. physicist specialized in Art diagnostics who has taught
“Scientific Methods for Art Investigation” in Europe and US. He is an expert in imaging and analytical techniques which he has carried out on important works of art for European and American Institutions and private collectors. For more information on his scientific work visit Dr. Cosentino on Researchgate, Linkedin, and Academia.edu  or check out our publications.

Workshop fees
Standard: € 750.00
Deadline for registration:
15 December 2017
Workshop fees will include lunches.
Registration forms are available at info@sral.nl and www.sral.nl
Numbers are limited to 15 participants and are allocated on a first come basis.
Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel only through SRAL.
Organisers: Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

 

Bosch Research and Conservation Project receives Europe's highest heritage award

Turku, 15 May 2017 - The winners of the 2017 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the field, were celebrated this evening during a high-profile event at St. Michael’s Church in Turku, Finland. Maestro Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organisation in Europe, and Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, co-hosted the European Heritage Awards Ceremony. They announced and presented the 7 Grand Prix and the Public Choice Award, chosen from among the 29 winning achievements of this year.

The 7 Grand Prix laureates, selected by an independent jury of experts and entitled to receive €10,000 each, are:

Category Conservation 

▪ Baroque Complex and Gardens in Kuks, Hradec Králové Region, CZECH REPUBLIC

▪ The King’s Road across Filefjell, NORWAY

▪ Cultural Palace, in Blaj, Transylvania, ROMANIA

▪ Roof for the Ruins of the Monastery of San Juan,Burgos, SPAIN

Category Research

▪ Bosch Research and Conservation Project, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, THE NETHERLANDS

Category Dedicated Service

▪ Mr. Ferdinand Meder, Zagreb, CROATIA

Category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising 

▪ Centre of Visual Arts and Research, Nicosia, CYPRUS 
 

The Public Choice Award, which is in its sixth edition, goes to Mr. Zoltán Kallós, who has devotedly compiled collections of music, dance, storytelling and crafts of the Hungarian, Romanian, Saxon and Roma communities of Transylvania in Romaniafor over 70 years. It is the first time that an accomplishment in the category Dedicated Service to Heritage obtains the highest number of votes. 11,500 people voted for their favourite heritage achievements in Europe via an online poll conducted by Europa Nostra.

During the ceremony, the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards were presented to 29 winners from 18 countries taking part in the EU’s Creative Europe programme. In addition, two exemplary projects from Switzerland and Turkey, European countries that are not participating in that programme, also received a Europa Nostra Award.

The Awards Ceremony in Turku was attended by some 1,200 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from across Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, Member States and the host country.

For the full press release, click here

For more information on the role of SRAL, click here

Bosch Research and Conservation Project wins EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2017

The Bosch Research and Conservation Project has been announced as a winner of the EU Prize. For the full press release, see the special Radboud University webpage.

The Prize, launched by the European Commission and organized by Europa Nostra, celebrates and promotes best practices related to heritage conservation, management, research, education and communication, and through the power of their example we stimulate creativity and innovation. In this way, it contributes to a stronger public recognition of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for Europe’s society and economy.

2016 marked the 500-year anniversary of the death of the world-famous painter Hieronymus Bosch, an artist whose life and work traversed boundaries and language barriers. His fame soon spread across Europe and his bizarre and utterly creative imagery was, and still is, greatly admired beyond Dutch borders. Now, his surviving oeuvre consists of about 24 paintings and 21 drawings and is found in 26 different museums and private collections in 10 different countries, 9 of which in Europe.

The Bosch Research and Conservation Project was first presented as an initiative in 2007 and now, ten years later, the BRCP-team has presented the results of the largest international research initiative ever undertaken into the paintings and drawings of Hieronymus Bosch.

Following seven years of dedicated research, the team uncovered a trove of new information about the artist and his surviving work, which is published in the two volume monograph Hieronymous Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman: Catalogue Raisonné and Technical Studies and is accessible through the innovative website boschproject.org. In the Bosch year and the build-up to it, no less than eleven conservation treatments and two spectacular and important exhibitions in 's-Hertogenbosch and Madrid took place that were visited by well over 1 million people.

"This project represents innovations in research, conservation and technology and is an excellent example of the link between research and conservation of art", stated the jury.

The Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP) is an ambitious and international endeavour set up by the Jheronimus Bosch 500 Foundation, Het Noordbrabants Museum and the Radboud University.

"The entire process of this project is exceptional. The efforts of the various stakeholders in the public sphere to mobilise all of the concerned parties to deliver such an outstanding result, including an international exhibition and a wide dissemination of the results, is wonderful. The comparably small team has evidently worked with devotion and with a keen understanding of the historical, cultural and social context of Bosch", highlighted the jury.

Throughout Europe, there are 29 laureates. During the Awards Ceremony in Turku (Finland) on 15 May, the seven Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner will be announced. Vote for BRCP at vote.europanostra.org 

Solvent Workshop – 15th -17th February – National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, Gwendoline R. Fife ‘Modelling solvent behaviour, solvent effects on paint films, and the practical ramifications’

Quotes from participants:

'We enjoyed every minute of the workshop and the lectures and found them inspiring and rewarding' Troels Filtenborg, Senior Painting Conservator, National Gallery of Denmark
‘So much learning and so much fun!’ Malin Borin, Konservator/Conservator, Göteborgs konstmuseum, Göteborg Sweden
‘Fantastic workshop’ Loa Ludvigsen Painting Conservator, National Gallery of Denmark
'Very inspiring and motivating’ Krister Eliasson Painting Conservator, SSM

Held at the painting conservation studios of the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, the aim of the workshop was to support practitioners in their practical applications of solvents. The results of investigations into the effects of organic solvents on artist paint films are potentially highly beneficial in developing our conceptual modeling and understanding of paint films, and the possible negative effects from solvents. However, applying these theoretical findings to practice can be challenging. From a conservator’s perspective, examining how the magnitude of these solvent effects can be influenced by our solvent choice, techniques and practices is a pertinent focus, and was the central tenet of the workshop.

The workshop provided the following lecture components:

  • The fundamentals of organic solvents and the published models used for describing solvent behavior.
    • Research findings regarding organic solvent effects on paint films.
    • Recent findings regarding the ramifications: can these effects be influenced by adaptations in our solvent use?

These were followed by discussions covering experiences and opinions regarding solvent choices and application, with practicals in solvent selection and application in varnish removal testing on museum paintings.

Many thanks are extended to the organisers and all the participants for their interest and enthusiasm!

 

Conference on Vandalism & Art, June 8-9 2017 Maastricht, The Netherlands

Vandalism & Art

Vandalisme’, a term coined in 1794 by Henri Gregoire, now relates in the public consciousness to the intentional damage to public heritage. It is an ever present risk for art displayed in public venues. Acts of vandalism are often instigated by political causes, religious beliefs, psychological motivation or public unawareness. Cultural heritage managers have to deal immediately, under scrutiny, with the visually intrusive effects whenever these acts take place.

No matter the cause, the act itself results in damage to the work of art. The means of the act may be varied but the effects can be both structurally and aesthetically devastating. The means may be intentional: knife attack, acid attack, spray paint application, hammer attack, throwing paint and graffiti against sculptures and on monuments. But also carried out without consideration: chewing gum stuck on the eyes (of sculpture), scratched personal names into stone building, accidental pen marks. The public’s disregard for public heritage increases as a result of these manifestations of damage, which in turn can instigate further damage.
Restoration of vandalised works of art can be costly and time consuming. Treatment asks for the development of unconventional or ground breaking techniques and materials. The immediate response of social media to acts of vandalism is a new phenomenon that requires prompt managing; thus, pushing conservation into new fields of communication.
The decision-making on what to do may differ if the vandalism has taken place in public space or inside a museum: should the damage be left visible as a historical record or should the object be returned to its original appearance? The intent of the offence may be recognised as valuable demonstration of public outcry, or even an artwork in itself, and therefore saved. How do the various stakeholders deal with vandalism? How to react in the first instance? Who is the appropriate stakeholder to make decisions on what to do? What are the legal and economic consequences of these acts?
This two day conference will allow all stakeholders to share their experiences, exchange ideas and define new polices when dealing with acts of vandalism. Decisions made when treating vandalised art works will be debated through case studies and new protocols for dealing with public awareness and management of social media will be addressed. Legal and economic issues and implications will be debated.

Confirmed Contributions Oral Presentations Morwenna Blewett Hamilton Kerr

Morwenna Blewett Hamilton Kerr Institute (UK) 
Criminal Damage and Cultural Property: The Curious Place of Movable Treasures.
Isabelle Brajer National Museum, Copenhagen (DK)
The problem of vandalism on contemporary outdoor murals. 
Alain Colombini CICRP, Marseille (FR) 
The duality of Graffiti: is it vandalism or art? 
Dr Esther van Duijn Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (NL) 
Vandalism and the Rijksmuseum: three vandalized paintings restored by Luitsen Kuiper in the nineteen seventies. Mark Gilberg Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA) 
Responding to Acts of Vandalism: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Experience. 
Begüm Gücük Istanbul Dogus University (TR) 
Vandalism over Vandalism. 
Lynne Harrison, David Peggie & Morwenna Blewett The National Gallery, London & Hamilton Kerr Institute (UK) 
Protecting Paintings from Vandalism: updating rapid response procedures at the National Gallery, London. 
Liv Laumenech University of Edinburgh (UK) 
Eduardo Paolozzi’s Tottenham Court Road Arches: What Happened & What Now? 
Bronwyn Ormsby & Rachel Barker Tate, London (UK) 
Mark Rothko: Untitled (Black on Maroon). Vandalism and its Legacy. 
Tomas Markevicius, Bruce Banks & Nina Olsson Munchmuseet, Oslo (NO) 
Monoatomic oxygen: a non-contact method for nanoscale cleaning of vandalised modern and contemporary artworks. 
Md. Ali Nasir National Museum Institute (IND) 
Restoration or Reconstruction ???? 
Tino Simon Hochschule for Bildende Künste, Dresden (DE) 
Deliberate damage to polychrome church interiors. 
Norman H Tennent & Stephen D Field University of Amsterdam & Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (NL & UK) 
Vandalism of the Winston Churchill appliqué glass screen: a story without an ending? 
Carol Snow Yale University of Art Gallery (USA) 
Responding to White Supremacy: Public Images and Legacies at Yale University. 
Sandra Weerdenburg et al. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)
(Title tbd: Stedelijk Museum: Visitors & the Museum) 

Venue, Registration & Costs
The Conference will the held at the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht. Registration forms will be available at www.sral.nl (events) from 1 March 2017. Conference fee will be € 195.00. The number of places is limited, so registration will be made in order of receipt. The registration is only valid after reception of the registration fee.

Date and place
June 8-9 2017 : Auditorium, Bonnefanten Museum, Avenue Ceramique 250, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Organised by:
Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), Maastricht, The Netherlands
Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
CEROART, Liege, Belgium
MACCH, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Workshop Framing techniques and microclimate enclosures for Panel Paintings by Sara Mateu
20-22 February 2017 at
SRAL Studios

Overview

•A history of framing;
•Framing as a preventive conservation strategy;
•Guidelines for framing panel paintings;
•Planning for exhibition, storage, transport and handling;
•Framing systems: current trends and materials;
•Framing small & medium panel paintings;
•Framing larger panels with flexible battens;
•Microclimate frames: history and evolution;
•Making a microclimate frame: the process step-by-step;
•MarvelSeal® envelopes: design and implementation;
•Making a MarvelSeal® envelope: the process step-by-step.

The workshop will consist of a series of lectures and practical sessions lead by Sara Mateu Sara is a freelance Paintings conservator based in Brussels. She specialised in structural and preventive conservation of panel paintings and takes part on the Getty’s Foundation Panel Paintings Initiative.

Workshop fees

Standard: € 775.00
Deadline for registration: 31st January 2017
Workshop fees will include lunches.
Workshop fees will include three mockups of microclimate enclosures, which the participants can take home.
Registration forms are available at info@sral.nl
Numbers are limited to 20 participants and are allocated on a first come basis.
Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Design Hotel only through SRAL.

Organisers:
Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

Venue:
SRAL, Avenue Ceramique 224, 6221 KX, Maastricht

Additional information

Beyond climate control there are two powerful and affordable tools for the preventive conservation of panel paintings: framing and microclimate enclosures. Framing can directly affect the stability of a painting; it should be carefully selected and executed to perform properly during transport, exhibition, storage, and in the event of climate fluctuations. The microclimate enclosure is a method to prevent damage related to fluctuations of relative humidity and is often chosen to protect artworks in transit or sensitive paintings facing poor climate conditions.

Content of the Workshop
The workshop will review the history, evolution and current trends in framing and microclimate enclosures for panel paintings. These techniques can be extrapolated to other climate-sensitive artworks on paper, board or canvas. The workshop is structured in theoretical and practical sessions.
During the practical sessions the participants will build their own microclimate enclosures: two microclimate frames and a MarvelSeal envelope, a representation of the main three techniques used today. All materials are included in the registration fee and the participant will keep their mock-ups.
The workshop is designed for all the actors involved in the care, exhibition and loan of paintings. Conservators and depot managers in charge of framing and making microclimate enclosures will learn the strategies and practical skills to offer the most suitable solution in a case-by-case basis. Collection managers and registrars are encouraged to join the workshop as well, since they are active actors in the decision-making process regarding the care, exhibition and transport of the artwork and often follow them on loan.
The workshop will equip all participants with a solid background on current museum practices.

Review of Wood Science and Technology II: Microclimates for Panel Paintings

The two day conference - 11 speakers, three posters and three sponsor presentations - were attended by a 110 delegates from over 19 different countries. Sponsoring for this event included Tru Vue, Meyvaert, Proppagroup and our near neighbours the Bonnefanten Museum.
The content of the presentations, posters and contribution by our sponsors, was outstanding. Each of the speakers discussed ‘microclimates’ in relation to protective enclosures for art objects, and perhaps each of you had a slightly different meaning for the terms ‘microclimate’ and ‘enclosure’. Microclimates can be used to describe either local environment ‘trapped’ in a small (or large) enclosed space, or the environment in the vicinity of the object that is manipulated to achieve certain set-points. Some of you even discussed a building as a microclimate environment. Monitoring of the former smaller space can be more accurate than the latter due to the smaller volumes involved and the accuracy of the ‘point' measuring equipment. Different terms : ‘showcase’, ‘vitrine', ‘cabinet’, ‘shadowbox’, ‘box’, ‘frame’, ‘envelope’ etc were used interchangeably and with different meanings. I suggest that we clearly define these systems and give standard names (as much as this can be done) to each system in order that communication with those in affiliated fields (engineering, climate control, curatorial, etc) can be facilitated. 
 
This will help those in decision-making roles discuss the needs and possibilities for individual art works, especially panel paintings, the individual needs of which should not be standardised. New tools for measuring, calculating and monitoring microclimate enclosures are now available for the field - HERIe and WUFI. Care must be given equally to the aesthetics, science and practice of designing a microclimate enclosure. And historical frames should be respected as part of the original structure and not as a sacrificial element that can be manipulated to suit the needs of the painting. 
 
As maintenance and durability of the microclimate enclosure is key, it seems that microclimate enclosures should be seen as temporary solutions for moments where the panel painting has the potential to be exposed to undesired climate conditions. The idea of temporary microclimate envelopes, frames or shadowboxes for short term display (and travel) seemed to be the ideal solution. Leakage of the microclimate is inevitable but can be mitigated and, given a stable external environment, is minimal in the short term. Opening microclimate enclosures is dangerous without adequate instruction and this aspect should be considered for traveling art works or when reconditioning microclimate enclosures. 
 
Microclimates enclosures seem to be viable green solutions to controlling the climate of larger spaces and this helps in a time of increasing loans and movement of fragile sensitive art works. The microclimate enclosure should not be seen as a long term solution that needs no maintenance and museums implementing these enclosures as part of collection care policy should be well aware of the disadvantages as well as the advantages of housing their collection in such a manner. And these aspects must be communicated to those making policy decisions.
 
The scientific committee, consisting of Roger Groves, Sara Mateu, Luuk Hoogstede and Kate Seymoure will compile postprints including
  • extended abstracts of the presentations;
  • a comprehensive literature list (with links to available papers);
  • a list of materials, tools, equipment used for making microclimate enclosures and supplier list;
  • a list of techniques for monitoring and maintaining a set microclimate;
  • pdf versions of powerpoints (password protected)
  • schematic designs of available systems.
This would be intended as a useful resource and educational tool providing a digital ‘manual’ or ‘guide’ to microclimate enclosures for panel paintings.
 

Symposium on improved conservation strategies for gilt leather, 31st March 2016, 10am-5pm

Hosted by: Bonnefanten Museum and Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), in Maastricht. This one-day international symposium on gilt leather presents current conservation challenges, the state of the art in material degradation research, new art historical findings, and the potential of diagnostic techniques from different engineering fields. The programme is intended for a wider audience of owners and custodians of gilt leather wall hangings and collections, conservators of different disciplines, conservation scientists, students and other interested parties. The symposium will be followed by an international expert meeting on Friday the 1st of April (invitation only). This event is part of the Gilt Leather Project, within the context of the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS), that aims to define the research agenda for the conservation of gilt leather for 2017-2025. More about NICAS and the Gilt Leather Project.

Practical information:
Hosted by:
Stichting Restauratie Atelier Maastricht
Venue:
Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Participation in the symposium on the 31st of March (10am – 5pm) is free, including coffee, tea, lunch and drinks.
Registration is required:
goo.gl/forms/GmKig97XxE
For any questions regarding the symposium and the project please contact
Martine Posthuma de Boer
, m.posthumadeboer@tudelft.nl

Programme Thursday 31st of March:

  • 9.30 Registration and coffee (Bonnefanten Museum)
  • 10.00 – 12.00 NICAS Gilt Leather Project presentations (Auditorium, Bonnefanten Museum)
  • “Introduction to the NICAS Gilt Leather Project.” – Roger Groves – Delft University of Technology.
  • “Gilt leather and the art historical perspective: promising identification possibilities through technical analyses.” Eloy Koldeweij – Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.
  • “Issues concerning the condition and conservation of the pictorial layers of gilt leather: Town Hall Maastricht, Town Hall Venlo and Lenghenhofje Dordrecht.”Bianca van Velzen and René Hoppenbrouwers – Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg.
  • “Spectral Imaging of gilt leather.” - Martine Posthuma de Boer and Vassilis Papadakis – Delft University of Technology.
  • “Stress in leather wall hangings; mechanics, measurements and case studies.” - Elizabet Nijhoff Asser – RNA Amsterdam.
  • “Electrochemistry at (coated) metal surfaces.” - Arjan Mol - Delft University of Technology
  • 12.00 – 13.30 Lunch + demonstrations (SRAL Studios)
  • 13.30 – 17.00 Snapshots of on going research and conservation of gilt leather (Auditorium Bonnefanten Museum)
  • “The manufacturing techniques of gilt leather in Europe between 1500 and 1800: written art technological sources and experimental reconstructions.” – Andreas Schulze - Dresden Academy of Fine Arts.
  • “Ageing of historic leathers: degradation mechanisms and diagnostic tools in relation to condition assessment.” – Dörte V. P. Sommer – School of Conservation (KADK), Copenhagen.
  • “The CORDOBA project – silver leaf as physical and chemical marker for geographical provenance of gilt leathers? The CORD'ARGENT project - the alteration of the silver leaf in gilt leathers.” Céline Bonnot-Diconne - 2CRC, Laurianne Robinet - Centre de recherche sur la conservation (CRC), France, and Marie Radepont - CRC and Centre de recherche en de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF).
  • “Advanced surface analysis for metal art objects.” - Herman Terryn - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Delft University of Technology.
  • “Knowsley Hall’s series of Old Testament paintings on gilt leather (Venice, 1656), and their conservation programme.” - Stephen Lloyd - Derby Collection, Knowsley Hall, Merseyside, UK, and Chris Calnan - National Trust.
  • “Gilded Goddess: The technical examination of a gilt leather painting.” – Abbie Vandivere and Julie Ribits - Mauritshuis, The Hague.
  • 17.00 Drinks (SRAL Studios, avenue Ceramique 224)

Organized by the NICAS gilt leather project team:
Dr Roger Groves, Dr Vassilis Papadakis, Martine Posthuma de Boer MA, Delft University of Technology (Dept. Aerospace Structures and Materials)
Dr Arjan Mol, Delft University of Technology (Dept. Materials Science and Engineering)
Dr Eloy Koldeweij, Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE)
Elizabet Nijhoff Asser, Restauratie Nijhoff Asser (RNA) and University of Amsterdam (Dept. Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage)
René Hoppenbrouwers, Bianca van Velzen and Kate Seymour, Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL)

Financial support: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).
Auditorium by Bonnefanten Museum.  Drinks by SRAL.

Museumvakdagen

On May 24th and 25th we cordially invite you to the Museumvakdagen which will be hosted at the Evoluon in Eindhoven. SRAL will be present again and we are looking forward to welcoming you.

 

Conservation and restoration treatment of 'De Lakenmarkt'

The largest Bosch retrospective ever : Jheronimus Bosch – Visions of a Genius opens at the Noordbrabants Museum, in the artist’s home town of s-Hertogenbosch (13th February until 8th May). To be viewed in this exhibition, The Noordbrabants Museum well-known and beloved work ‘De Lakenmarkt’ recently underwent major conservation and restoration at the research and conservation centre, SRAL, in Maastricht (photo 1). For many years prior to this treatment the painting had been covered in thick non-original overpaints
(photo 2). Photo 3 (after removal of varnish and overpaints) shows the considerable losses to the original layers that had previously occurred. These losses were reintegrated with a considered  and courageous approach involving significant reconstruction (Photo 4).Hence ‘De Lakenmarkt’ -which features Bosch’s house in the 16th century – can be displayed as part of this major exhibition.

Restauratoren NL "Materials & methods for surface cleaning and removal of film-forming materials" door Paolo Cremonesi at SRAL, 15 t/m 19 februari 2016


WORKSHOP MASTERING FILLS & RETOUCHES BY JIM BERNSTEIN 18-22 April 2016

Hosted by SRAL
Venue: SRAL, Avenue Ceramique 224, Maastricht 
Lecturer: James Bernstein (Conservator of Paintings & Mixed Media, San Francisco, USA) www.jamesbernstein.com

James is a familiar figure in the world of art conservation. A graduate of the High School of Music & Art, NYC, he received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.  He was awarded a Masters and Advanced Study Degree in Art Conservation (the Cooperstown Graduate Program, now the Buffalo Graduate Program). Bernstein served as Co-Director of Conservation and Conservator for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art [1975 to 1989]. Guiding the museum’s in-house and regional conservation services, he performed collection assessments, treatments, and mentored the education and work of staff conservators, interns and apprentices. In 1989, James turned to full-time private conservation practice and developed master classes for conservators.  Bernstein and associates provide museum-level conservation services and expertise to an distinguished roster of institutional, association and individual clients. For two decades, Jim has taught color and compensation technique to hundreds of conservators through eagerly attended MASTERING FILLS AND INPAINTING Workshops, often co-taught with close colleague Debra Evans, Head of Paper Conservation for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.  MASTERING FILLS AND INPAINTING has been presented thirty-five times, tailored to the needs of each audience/specialty and hosted by associations around the globe. In 2007, James Bernstein and Debra Evans were recognised by their peers, receiving the American Institute for Conservation Sheldon and Caroline Keck Award, in recognition of their sustained record of excellence in the education and training of conservation professionals.

Workshop
MASTERING FILLS & RETOUCHES is a multidisciplinary master class for conservators of paper, objects and paintings. This four and a half day intensive course is designed for conservators wishing to improve their mastery of filling and inpainting skills. A broad overview of this complicated topic is covered, as well as considerable attention to details critical for various points of the compensation process. Keys to problem solving are offered to help conservators find appropriate and successful treatment solutions for differing compensation challenges. A combination of lectures, discussion, demonstrations and hands-on studio/laboratory practice sessions will cover the following:

  • Filling and Inpainting criteria
  • Adaptation of environments for each compensation requirement
  • Light, color and optics: theory and practical phenomena
  • Survey of pigments and their properties
  • Preparation for compensation: structural reconfiguration, isolation and fill materials/techniques.
  • Inpainting media and toning systems: resins (natural & synthetic), watercolour, gums, cellulose fiber, dry pigments, pencils, pastels and other colouring agents
  • Formulation of inpainting palettes and diluents and media
  • Inpainting modifiers: bulking, matting, polishing, and glossing agents
  • Color palettes, brushes, application instruments, methods, and tips
  •  Medium/pigment/diluent variations for adjusting surface sheen: high gloss, lean/matte, transparent, opaque, stained, and other structures
  • Simulation of patina and age effects
  • Philosophical dialogue: degrees and appropriateness of compensation; discernibility, longevity and reversibility of restorations

Workshop fees: Standard: € 875,00
Deadline for registration 1 March 2016
Workshop fees will include lunches.
Applications are on a first come basis. A maximum number of 20 participants will be accepted. Due to the high costs of this workshop, it will only go ahead if the maximum number of participants is reached. Applicants will be informed on 1 March 2016 if the workshop will be held.
Registration forms are   available at  info@sral.nl
Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Hotel only through SRAL.
Organisers: Kate Seymour and Siska Losse

Workshop: Modern Resins for Varnishing and Retouching By Jill Whitten, Robert Proctor and René de la Rie, 14-17  June 2016

Lecturers:
René de la Rie, Jill Whitten and Robert Proctor 

René de la Rie University of Amsterdam & CRCC, Paris
E. René de la Rie received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands. He is currently chercheur associée at the Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC/CNRS), Paris and a guest researcher at the UvA (http://uva.nl/profile/e.r.delarie). He was head of the scientific research department at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC from 1989 until 2012, a position endowed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He has also held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and at the Training Program for Conservators (now UvA) and the Central Research Laboratory for Objects of Art and Science (later ICN, now RCE), both in Amsterdam. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of New York and the UvA and served as Ph.D. advisor at the latter institution. He was an editor for the journal Studies in Conservation from 1994 until 2011 and has published extensively.   Email: e.r.delarie@uva.nl.

Jill Whitten and Robert Proctor have been in private practice in Houston, Texas since 1998. They work on private and institutional collections. Email: wp@whittenandproctor.com
Jill Whitten received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art at the University of Texas, Austin. She studied conservation at Buffalo State College, where she received a Master of Arts and a Certificate in Conservation. She has worked as a conservator and undertaken resin research at the Art Institute of Chicago, J. Paul Getty Museum and the National Gallery of Art. She treated a collection of paintings by Frederic Remington at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Since 1993 she has been lecturing and teaching workshops on resins for varnishing and retouching in North and South America and Europe.
Robert Proctor has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Tulane University in New Orleans and a Master of Arts and Certificate of Conservation from Buffalo State College. He trained in Munich at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, worked at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In addition to workshops on varnishes, Rob is a specialist in the reweaving of tears and has taught workshops on reweaving. He has worked as a contract conservator and treated a number of public murals.

Overview
Many different materials have been used for varnishing and retouching. Traditionally, natural resins were primarily used for this purpose. In the 20th century synthetic polymers were introduced. These are often chemically and physically more stable than their natural counterparts. The optical properties of varnishes are however largely controlled by their molecular weight. By using synthetic low molecular weight resins for varnishing and retouching, an appearance similar to that obtained using natural resins can be achieved. Factors affecting stability and appearance, as well as application methods and solvents suitable for these new resins, will be discussed.

Workshop:
The workshop will focus on synthetic low molecular weight resins and how they differ from polymers and dammar.  Participants will use practical sessions to evaluate the properties of resins used as varnishes in terms of their application and appearance. Through these practical sessions and demonstrations, participants will establish how the choice of resin, solvent or stabilizer will affect the properties of the varnish not only on application but subsequently upon ageing. Participants will leave the master class with an individual canvas board (60x80cm) on which at least 15 varnish recipes have been tested.

Lectures will cover: 

  • Function of varnishes
  • Chemical properties of resins and their degradation
  • Factors affecting optical characteristics of varnishes
  • Effects of stabilizers
  • Retouching media
  • Criteria for choosing appropriate varnishes
  • Varnish application techniques
  • Solvent selection: polarity, solvent strength and evaporation rates

Materials:
Varnishes and artist canvas boards will be provided.
Participants are encouraged to bring their favourite brush for applying varnish.

Workshop fees:
Standard: € 775,00                                              
Deadline for registration May 1st 2016

Student: € 550,00                                                      
On limited places. Application after May 1st, deadline June 1st 2016

Workshop fees will include lunches. 
Registration forms are available at info@sral.nl
Numbers are limited to 20 participants and are allocated on a first come basis.
Discount bookings for accommodation at Townhouse Hotel only through SRAL.
Organisers: Kate Seymour and Siska Losse 

Conference on Wood Science and Technology II: Microclimates for Panel Paintings, 20-21 October 2016

This two day conference on microclimates for panel paintings is directed towards the latest developments in this field. Microclimate boxes are considered best practice for moisture sensitive objects for exhibition in uncontrolled environments or travelling. It is necessary to control climate conditions (relative humidity and temperature) in order to prevent unnecessary stresses developing in the object as the hydroscopic materials absorb or desorb moisture content. To achieve this the microclimate environment needs to be maintained to set parameters. This is best attained in air-tight enclosures, either encapsulating the artwork or incorporated in the original setting, such as the frame. Research has shown that the air surrounding the artwork should be kept to a minimum and that materials used for constructing the enclosure should be carefully selected. Debate is ongoing if the interior climate requires buffering or not. The last major review of innovations in the field was held in Copenhagen in 2007 and further research was reported in the outcome of the EU funded PROPAINT project (2010). This Conference will provide an opportunity for those constructing and designing microclimate enclosures to report their latest experiences to conservators and museum curators. Furthermore, sessions focusing on the science behind microclimate enclosures will be scheduled.
Hosted by SRAL
Venue: Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Call for Papers & Posters
Abstracts of no more than 250-500 words, in English, for contributions should be sent to k.seymour@sral.nl by 1 February 2016. Submissions should include all author’s names, titles, and institutions in an Office Word format. All work submitted must be original and not have been published elsewhere. Abstracts will be selected on merit by 1 March 2016. Extended abstracts will be required prior to the conference and digital post prints will be forthcoming.

Save the date.pdf Call for Papers.pdf

Project consultation and workshop in Tallinn

An exciting conservation project has just commenced on the Passion Altarpiece (c.1515-1520) at the Niguliste Museum in Tallinn, Estonia. The history of this art work is complex, and the outer wings have been variously attributed to Michel Sittow (c. 1469 – 1525) – an internationally appreciated court artist who originated from Tallinn (Reval). These wings have been requested for the upcoming exhibition of this important artist’s work which will take place at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and at the KUMU Art Museum (Art Museum of Estonia) in Tallinn, in 2018.
Gwendoline R. Fife from SRAL was invited by the Art Museum of Estonia, and the Academy of Art in Tallinn  to discuss and determine an appropriate conservation methodology for treating the paintings in collaboration with the head conservator for the project Hilkka Hiiop, and assistant Johanna Lamp, and art historian Greta Koppel. Two days were spent on the objects examining and testing different approaches for removing the varnishes and overpaints. Subsequently Gwen gave a 3 day series of lectures with practical workshop elements regarding organic solvents. The fundamentals of organic solvents, the modelling of their behaviour, research into their effects on paint films, and findings regarding application techniques, were reviewed and discussed. The conservation students and practitioners reacted very enthusiastically to understanding and discussing more about these important topics, resulting in an enjoyable and fruitful workshop for all.

Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy Conference and Workshop, July 9-10, 2015

This two day meeting of lectures and accompanying demonstrations aims to highlight the possibilities and limitations of pXRF so that strong collaborations between conservators and conservation scientists can ensue. Emphasis on interpretation of acquired data from pXRF analysis will be given.

Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (handheld and macro): friend or foe?

The analysis of painting materials relies more and more on pXRF for the determination of inorg anic pigments. Because pXRF is nondestructive, and has become more available to conservators due to price and accessibility, these instruments have been utilised with rapidly increasing frequency. Results seem immediate and conclusive. The technique has thus become a dominant tool in the determination of pigments in recent years. But as conservators who have become more acquainted with the technique will tell you, performing analyses using pXRF equipment on complex paintings is not quite as simple as point and shoot. Interpreting the data is key. What are the benefits and pitfalls in examining paintings with pXRF. How can these be enhanced or overcome?

Programme

The two day conference and workshop aims to give participants an understanding of the principles of
pXRF and the instrumentation available. Participants will leave with an understanding of the complexities of this system and be comfortable in a dialogue with scientists carrying out research in this area. The purpose is to encourage investigation and research using this technique and provide tips on how to make the most of data deriving from examination. Lectures given in the morning sessions will focus on theoretical concepts of chemistry and physics necessary to understand the principles of pXRF. Overviews of instrumentation that are available and accessible in the field will be given. Case studies and experiences of pXRF investigations by conservators will also be part of the programme. Experts in pXRF investigation will present recent projects and possibilities. Afternoon sessions will consist of demonstrations of instrumentation by experienced operatives. A number
of different instrumentation will be available provided by the leading supplier of instrumentation and invited speakers. Break away sessions during which some limited hands-on investigation will be carried out. The size of the groups will be determined by the number of participants.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr. Lee Drake or Dr. Bruce Kaiser, Bruker Nederland B.V
David Strivay, Centre Europeen d’Archeometrie, University of Liege
Joris Dik, TU Delft
Annelies van Loon, TU Delft
Petria Noble, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Erich Uffelman, Washington & Lee University
Jorinde Koenen, Frans Hals Museum / De Hallen
Anna Krekeler, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Sabrina Meloni & Susan Smelt, Mauritshuis Den Haag

The conference will provide the opportune venue for conservators and researchers in the field of material-
technical investigation of paintings to exchange ideas and information on this subject. Students will be
most welcome. Delegates will be selected on a first come basis. The event will be in English.

The conference and workshops will take place in the auditorium of the BonnefantenMuseum, Maastricht
which has a capacity of 60.

Conference & Workshop Fees

Standard:           € 195.00
Students:           € 40.00

Conference fees will include lunches. A dinner (cost not included) will be organised on Thursday evening.Registration forms are available at info@sral.nl Proof of studentship will be required.

Hosted by SRAL
Organised by Kate Seymour & Siska Losse
Venue BonnefantenMuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Discount bookings for accommodation are available at Townhouse Hotel only through SRAL.

The European Fine Art Fair Maastricht 2015

From the 12th until the 22nd of March, SRAL will be present at TEFAF Maastricht. Our institute focuses on conservation as well as on research of paintings using different analytical techniques. Thorough technical examination of paintings can contribute clarifying issues related to the creation and ageing of paintings and to questions concerning authenticity and contribution.
Please, feel welcome to visit us in stand 706 (Chapeau and Region Maastricht).

MACCH Kick-Off Conference 2015

Assembling Value: The changing roles of experts and expertise in art and heritage worlds
Sunday 22 - Monday 23 March 2015, Maastricht
The conference coincides with the launch of the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH). MACCH is a joint initiative of four faculties of Maastricht University, the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL) and the Study and Documentation Center for History of Limburg (SHCL). This interdisciplinary research platform brings together scholars and professionals working on the intersecting fields of arts, culture and heritage, the national and international legal framework concerning these areas and the financial developments of the international art market. By combining legal, historical, philosophical and economic expertise, and by working across the traditional boundaries that separate academic and professional disciplines and institutions, MACCH meets the demands of the increasingly multi-layered and complex challenges facing the fields of arts, culture, conservation and heritage today. Focus areas of research and teaching include the changing role of experts and expert knowledge, public participation, and technological mediation.
www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/macch  en
http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Faculties/FL/Theme/research_law/conferences_research_law/Past2015/MACCHKickoffConference2015.htm

Composition of MACCH Steering Committee

  • Prof. dr. Renée van de Vall (chair) - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Ass. Prof. dr. Joop de Jong - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Prof. dr. Hildegard Schneider – Faculty of Law
  • Ass. Prof. dr. Rachel Pownall -  School of Business and Economics
  • Dr. Christoph Rausch – Faculty of Humanities and Sciences
  • Drs. René Hoppenbrouwers – Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg
  • Prof. dr. Ad Knotter – Sociaal Historisch Centrum Limburg

Restoration of the vaulted ceiling paintings in the city hall Maastricht

Currently, a part of the painted ceiling in the main hall of the 17th century city hall in Maastricht is undergoing conservation and restoration. The vaulted ceiling is situated directly above the main entrance and is part of an ensemble further consisting of a cross vault and a cupola. The painted decorations were carried out between 1667 and 1671 by Theodoor van de Schuer. It is of particular interest that the paintings are executed on plaster and not – as was more common at that time – on wooden planks. Van der Schuer was an interior painter of some reputation: he was in charge of the ceiling paintings in the so-called Trêveszaal  of het Binnenhof in The Hague (Dutch parliament buildings).
Before restoration commenced,  the condition, materials and techniques as well as the restoration history were thoroughly examined and documented. Based hereupon, a plan of action was formulated. One crucial part of this preliminary examination was the unravelling of three invasive restorations: the first one carried out in 1838 by Theodoor Schaepkens, followed by two other interventions, one in 1895 through the Belgian painter Vidar and one in 1951 by Prof. Thé Lau en Alphons Volders.
The complexity of the treatment demands a close interaction of the various specializations within SRAL. The knowledge and experience of the paintings conservator is necessary to tackle the removal of varnish and various layers of overpaint. Stratigraphic windows, paint cross sections, examinations with ultra violet light and instrumental analysis are employed to identify the overpaints. The fact that the paintings are carried out on plaster asks for the expertise of wall paintings specialists. Further the relationship between the paintings and the important classicistic interior presented by the city hall is being examined by conservators specialized in the conservation of historic interiors.
The restoration is closely monitored by the Netherland Heritage Agency (RCE).

Restoration of the procession baldachin of the Servaes Basiliek, Maastricht

For the last 160 years, the procession baldachin of the Sint Servaes basilica in Maastricht has been in regular use. The neo baroque baldachin was made in Antwerp between 1846 and 1849. So far, we do not know of comparable objects in the Netherlands. The large baldachin is composed of carriers, four vertical poles and a baldachin carved from wood and gilded with gold leaf. An exquisite textile drapery covers the baldachin from above. Unfortunately, the baldachin, being an object that has been used on a regular basis in outdoor conditions, must have been damaged in the past. To cover these damages the leaf gold had been crudely overpainted several times. The failure of the wooden construction as well as the inferior quality of the non-original decorative layers, were valid arguments in favour of restoration treatment. After initial preparations the baldachin is currently undergoing restoration at SRAL.
After thorough investigations it became apparent that the original gold leaf was still preserved beneath the overpaints. The most recent overpaint is a mat bronze paint that yields a kitschy, almost plastic like appearance. When removing the bronze paint, an elaborate gold leaf application, where shiny and mat surfaces alternate, was revealed. This surface appearance intensifies the three-dimensional effect of the wood carving. The restoration is on public view in the SRAL restoration studio located in the Bonnefanten Museum.
The run-up to the restoration can be viewed on: 
http://www.broederschapsintservaas.nl/kern/hemel.htm

Restoration of the 18th century organ shutters from the Marcus Organ in Goes

The organ from the Grote Magdalenakerk in Goes was made between 1641 and 1643 by the English Organ maker William Deakens. In the course of time the organ was adapted according to contemporary tastes and musical needs. For example the instrument was further expanded by Jacob Cool from Rotterdam. The instalment of the four spectacular shutters is dating from this period. In 1739 the organ received a so called ‘Turkish cap’ in the shape of a polychrome hanging drapery.
The organ shutters are composed of a wooden framework with two painted images either side in oil on canvas. The insides show female figures with musical instruments on the smaller shutters and Pharisees on the larger ones, all four outsides are decorated with classist festoons, busts and putti. During the centuries the painted surfaces, painted in 1711 by A. Busschop, were covered in dirt and soot. The varnish layers degraded and yellowed. These defects dramatically hampered the colour perception and the illusionistic effect of the grisailles on the outer shutters.
In 2012, in collaboration with students from the University of Amsterdam, SRAL has carried out architectural paint research on the organ case itself. The results revealed that the wood was originally polychrome but was stripped entirely afterwards. At a later stage the wood has locally been painted anew and gold leaf was applied.
The restoration of the organ shutters followed a minimal approach: the structural elements were maintained and the yellowed varnish layers and discoloured overpaints were removed to re-store the spatial effect of the painted image. The background of the grisailles is painted as marble imitations; presumably in correspondence with the lost painted surface of the organ case. The cool colouring and pattern of the marble imitations was concealed by the strongly yellowed varnish.

TV program Max Monumentaal presents an item on the restoration treatment of the wall paintings in the catacombs in Valkenburg

In June two out of a total of roughly sixty painted chapels in the catacombs in Valkenburg were restored. These chapels and wall paintings are precise copies of frescos from the early Christian catacombs in Rome and were painted between 1908 and 1910 under the supervision of the Cuypers workshop from Roermond. They are one of the early attractions of Valkenburg, which began to develop its tourism in the early 20th century.
The paintings are located in an extraordinarily humid environment where the RH is very high (around 98%). Also the limestone is saturated with groundwater. In some places the water is even trickling down the walls. In such an environment it is impossible to use any binding medium in the paint as the organic components would immediately become moldy and decay. This can be observed on spatters of candlewax which can be found on various places in the caves. Therefore the retouchings of the paintings were carried out solely with water and pigment without any binding medium; the porous surface of the substrate provides sufficient adhesion.
Recently the catacombs as well as the restoration treatment were presented in a TV program by Max Monumentaal: www.omroepmax.nl/maxmonumentaal/ (program of 25th september 2014)

 

Publication on the Master of Elsloo

Since 2010 SRAL has been part of an interdiciplinary researchproject on the late Medieval woodsculptor De Meester van Elsloo. The research findings are published in: A Masterly Hand, interdiciplinary research on the late Medieval Sculptor(s) Master of Elsloo in an international perspective, published at Brepols, Turnhout (België) 2014 of E-Book: river.kikirpa.be/elsloo

Conservation Fellowship Program for conservators from India

http://www.l1.nl/video/indiërs-bezoeken-restauratie-atelier-limburg-23-jun-2014

 

Met 'De genade van de steiger, Monumentale kerkelijke schilderkunst in het Interbellum'

In november 2013 werd in de Obrechtkerk te Amsterdam het boek De genade van de steiger, Monumentale kerkelijk schilderkunst in het Interbellum gepresenteerd. Het vormt de eerste studie die aan deze kunst van het Interbellum in Nederland is gewijd. Over kerkelijke schilderkunst uit het interbellum was nauwelijks iets bekend waardoor dit element bij kerkrestauraties weinig aandacht krijgt. De Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed heeft het initiatief genomen om de schilderingen en haar kunstenaars te inventariseren en kunsthistorisch en materiaaltechnisch te duiden. De geïnitieerde inhaalslag heeft er toe geleid dat er veel relevante informatie beschikbaar is gekomen voor het beheer en behoud van dit type erfgoed. SRAL heeft in de loop der jaren vele restauraties en onderzoeken van schilderingen uit deze periode uitgevoerd. De auteur van het boek is Dr. Bernadette C.M. van Hellenberg Hubar.

Angelique Friedrichs, restaurator en onderzoeker van historische interieurs bij de SRAL, schreef het hoofdstuk ‘Tussen hoofd en hand’ waarin de zoektocht van de kunstenaar naar de meest geschikte materialen en technieken voor muurschilderingen wordt geschetst. Schilders uit deze periode bleken nauwelijks kennis en vaardigheden in huis te hebben om duurzame schilderingen op de muur te maken. Bij hun zoektocht naar geschikte technieken vormde de frescoschilderkunst een belangrijke leidraad. Deze zoektocht maakte onderdeel uit van een internationaal streven duurzame materialen te ontwikkelen. Een gedegen inzicht in de artistieke bedoelingen van de kunstenaars en hun werk uit de betreffende periode blijkt onontbeerlijk bij de restauratie en conservering van deze schilderingen.

 

 

 

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