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Conserving the Claude Room Fireplace

Posted on 10/12/2017 by Amy Dangelico Comments(1)

Renee Jolly, Biltmore’s Objects Conservator, has recently been working on inpainting losses in the gilding of the Claude Room’s marble fireplace.

Renee Jolly, Objects Conservator in Biltmore HouseInpainting is a conservation term referring to the application of color within areas of loss in a piece—as opposed to overpainting, or applying new color on top of the original paint.

Inpainting closeupRenee is using a mixture she made that includes an acrylic medium and various mica powder pigments to match the original color.

Project completePer conservation standards, all inpainting applied to pieces in the Biltmore House collection is easily reversible—now and in the future—without causing any damage to the original gilding.

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Posted on 10/23/2017 By Hannah M

Fascinating; I love when these restoration bits are shared! Maybe a silly question, but is the original gilding gold leaf or paint? Would the restoration always be with the same material(paint repaired with paint, gold leaf with gold leaf)? Excited for the next glimpse into the upkeep of Biltmore house!

Great question, Hannah! The original surface of the fireplace is actual gold leaf. The choice for repair material is made on a case-by-case basis. In this instance, not only would it be more difficult to apply tiny flakes of gold leaf—rather than the dots of paint with a small brush—but eventually, it would be difficult for someone in the future to distinguish between our conservator’s work and the original gold. With that, Renee decided to use mica powder, which will always be distinguishable. – Biltmore Blog Editor

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