“All that Glitters: Treatment and Technical Study of an Ormolu Surtout de Table at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum,” Sarah Barack, Jessica Walthew, and Jakki Godfrey. ICOM-CC Metals Interim Meeting, Neuchatel, Switzerland. September 2–6, 2019.
Sarah Barack, Head of Conservation and Senior Objects Conservator, will be presenting the conservation team’s technical study and conservation treatment of the surtout de table recently featured in the exhibition Tablescapes: Designs for Dining (on view at Cooper Hewitt October 2018–April 2019) at the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation Metals conference in September in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
The entirety of the gilt metal surface was cleaned to brighten the piece’s overall appearance, revealing hidden details of fine craftsmanship. Conservators used specialized, tailored chemical solutions to reduce surface corrosion without damaging the underlying original surfaces. In this case, a special color-changing gel recipe was used to reduce spot corrosion in localized areas. Technical study, including 3D blue light scanning and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), allowed for a greater understanding of the sculptural elements.
Image: Contract conservator Jakki Godfrey gently cleans the gilt surface of the surtout de table using a cotton swab.