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Posts by Gemma

Ship model conservation

27 March 2013 by Gemma

Discussing the conservation process

Often as a conservator, there are not many opportunities to engage with the public. Working in studios undertaking practical conservation work can leave little time for interaction with those who enjoy and visit the collections. So when I was given the opportunity to do a demonstration of ship model conservation at the Lady Lever Art Gallery I was eager to accept.

The Gallery is part of National Museums Liverpool, and houses a collection of fine and decorative art. The Lady Lever Art Gallery was founded by William Hesketh Lever, and contains the best of his personal art collection. As part of the education programme, the gallery runs demonstrations of various art related topics, and so I did an afternoon of ship model conservation in one of the galleries. Read more…

Conserving a Ship of War Model

15 February 2012 by Gemma

Ship model before and after treatment
Ship model before and after treatment

You may remember in my last post that I had taken a model in great need of conservation to the Lady Lever Art Gallery for demonstration purposes. The model had several snapped yards and masts, and missing blocks. Many people remarked on the blackness of the thick dirt, and how complicated the broken and twisted rigging was, and were interested to know how I would go about treating the model. As the treatment of the model has now been completed, I would like to share some of the treatment processes. Read more…

Ready to set sail…

23 November 2011 by Gemma

Main sail before treatment and junk after conservation

Main sail before treatment and junk after conservation

The conservation of the Chinese junk from Swatow is now complete. Being such an interesting project, I will briefly share the treatment processes which have transformed a dirty, unstable model, back to its original beauty.

Firstly the hull and wooden components required cleaning. The model was vacuumed to remove any loose dirt on the deck and inside the bulkheads. After testing to find the safest, and most effective cleaning materials, the hull was cleaning using detergent in deionised water, which made a huge difference to the models appearance, as the shine of the wood oil can now be appreciated. The painted surfaces on the model were carefully cleaned using saliva, which is a surprisingly effective cleaning material. Read more…

Chinese Junk

5 October 2011 by Gemma

chinese junk ship model

Ship models have been made for centuries, representing changes in style and function of ships and boats, all around the world, making them such interesting objects! My current project in ship and historic model conservation illustrates this point well, as it is a model of a Chinese junk. A “junk” is a ship from China, and as you can see they are most unlike the European ships we are used to seeing. This project represents a challenge as the historical context of objects is an important consideration when conserving objects, and I had no knowledge about junks prior to starting the project. Read more…

Conserving Water Lily

7 September 2011 by Gemma

Ship model of fishing boat from Rye

My name is Gemma and I am a conservation intern at the National Museums Liverpool. I am here on a year long internship in Ship and Historic Model Conservation, funded by ICON (Institute of Conservation) and the Heritage Lottery Fund. As I am now nearly half way through my internship, I have had many interesting and exciting projects to work on which I would like to share, so I will put regular updates on the blog. Read more…

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.