In a recent blog I talked about moving the Museum’s plaster casts of the Harpy Tomb from Xanthos in Turkey up to the Conservaton Lab for cleaning and restoration.
Over the last few weeks some of the conservation team have been cleaning the surface of the casts, which have got rather dusty and dirty over the years. It’s a real labour of love and calls for a meticulous and methodical approach and immense patience.
Susan Martin photographed here is cleaning the surface using cotton wool swab and a solution of water and Industrial Methylated Spirit or alcohol. The spirit evaporates from the surface taking the water with it and the swab is replaced frequently. The dirty swab is disposed of in a plastic bottle with a gesture that becomes instinctive and automatic to those doing the cleaning. You can be having a conversation with one of the Conservation Team at the same time this is going on. Talk about multi-tasking! I attach some images to show what a striking difference the cleaning makes.
It’s sad to think that plaster casts rather fell out of favour years ago but there are some tremendous opportunities to make use of this under-rated class of material. We are looking for other casts from the same monument to fill-in the gaps where we don’t have panels. So if anyone out knows of any Harpy Tomb casts that might be going spare…