Frame Conservation: Cleaning Challenges

Conservators then turned their attention to cleaning the delicate gilded surface. This was complicated not only by the extensive cracking and losses throughout, but also by previous applications of metal-flake paint such as is commonly used on radiators. This paint darkens and becomes increasingly resistant to solvents the older it gets. In the before-cleaning detail on the right, the use of metal flake paint is evident in the larger losses on the left, whereas the frame's wood substrate is plainly evident in more recent losses on the right. Conservators therefore designed a solvent-based cleaning system to remove the metal-flake paint and then used materials with superior aging properties to compensate for such losses.

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