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Proceedings of the Joint Interim Meeting

Multidisciplinary Conservation: A Holistic View For Historic Interiors

Rome 23-26 March 2010 



The idea for this meeting was first broached at the 15th ICOM-CC Triennial Conference held in New Delhi, September 2008 and is the continuation of a successful earlier collaboration, a Joint Interim Meeting that took place in Krakow 2007 entitled ‘Upholstery+’. The initial partnership of three Working Groups, Leather and Related Materials, Textiles, and Wood, Furniture, and Lacquer, has expanded in Rome 2010 to include the Sculpture, Polychromy, and Architectural Decoration as well as the Murals, Stone, and Rock Art groups. While the 2007 Joint Interim Meeting was dedicated to multidisciplinary aspects relating to one object, “the chair”, the Rome 2010 Meeting encompasses a broader multidisciplinary subject, the “historic interior” itself.

The topic of this meeting is an important one, as it poses particular challenges due to the constraints often imposed by the building fabric. In addition, the conservation of historic interiors not only draws from many conservation specialisations but also from many other fields. Furthermore, historic buildings and their interiors form part of national heritage of every country and culture. These buildings and their interiors usually consist of multiple facets and materials often altering dramatically throughout their life spans due to change imposed by society, their environment and use. It is through the conservation and restoration of these buildings and the collections therein that the cultural identity of our past can be preserved and transferred to our future. It is thus essential to consider these entities in a holistic manner using a multidisciplinary collaborative approach, without imposing any sense of hierarchy for the conservation of the individual artefacts or collections housed within.

Keywords such as holistic, multidisciplinary, collaborative, communication are predominant in the terminology of current conservation policy. It is the aim of this meeting and the resulting proceedings, to draw attention to these keywords and the concepts. Papers and posters were selected to present a global overview of the historic interior and the treatment of objects and decorative elements contained within. It is hoped that the presented themes, problems and prospected solutions will stimulate an ongoing and interesting debate and provide hints for reflections and treatments as well as further the goals of the conservation profession.

The meeting in itself was the product of a multidisciplinary collaboration between five working groups within a multinational organisation that promotes a holistic approach to conservation. The call for papers delivered a huge response and validated the idea for focusing on the historic interior. Almost ninety abstracts were submitted of which, over a period of three days, forty-six papers and thirty-three posters, peer reviewed, were presented by authors from twenty-five countries to an audience of 245 participants. The Unione Nazionale Industria Conciaria (UNIC) kindly provided financial support to 25 students to attend the conference. The posters and papers collectively outline the key issues relevant to an holistic approach for the historic interior: these cover policy, methodology, protocol, diagnosis, scientific analysis, education, practical treatments, as well as historical and aesthetical aspects. Issues regarding preventive measures, conservation, restoration, reconstruction, replication are discussed and the end-use and role that stakeholders must play are stressed.

The emphasis of most papers has been on treating the interior as a whole connected strongly, not only to its physical structure, but also to its historical context and function of the building. The importance of a multidisciplinary approach has been accented. The conclusions have shown that no one speciality should be considered paramount, nor can individual objects be treated in isolation, thus a global holistic approach is a must and a balanced strategy is often necessary. Links between experts, professionals, curators, surveyors, architects, conservators, caretakers, end-users, stakeholders, and the public (to name but a few) must be open and transparent. The benefits of teamwork and collaboration to provide good methodological practice and flexible protocols are clear. The role of the public as interactive viewers is also discussed in many papers and the suggestion that structural hierarchies should be dissolved where possible is often raised. This allows the object, ie the historic interior, to remain as the main focus, allowing a continued engagement with the past.

The Directory Board of ICOM-CC has encouraged the organisation of joint interim meetings and this meeting has indeed been a ‘showcase’ for ICOM-CC activities. It has provided an occasion for many professionals from different field to gather to discuss ongoing projects and strengthen contacts between conservators, art historians and scientific experts. The successful objective of the meeting has been to deliver an overview of the complex conservation problems involved when dealing with the preservation and conservation of historic interiors within a multidisciplinary and holistic framework. It is hoped that the accompanying web-based publication will become a seminal resource for future reference.

Program Committee:

Elsje Janssen, Mariabianca Paris, Malgorzata Sawicki, Kate Seymour, and Andrew Thorn 





Session 1: Historic interiors and wide ranging conservation projects

Historic interiors in the Netherlands: developments in the last twenty years by E. KOLDEWEIJ

The integrated approach of Monumentenwacht in Flanders (Belgium): a model for implementing participative preventive conservation for historic interiors by V. MEUL

The Attingham re-discovered project of improvements to historic interiors by S. KAY, C. SITWELL, C. HUGHES, A. BUSH

Conservation works in refectories in the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork: between history and aesthetic functionalism by M. KOZARZEWSKI, A. WIELOCHA

The Sacristy of the Mosteiro de São Martinho of Tibães (Portugal): to exemplify the preservation of a unique historic ensemble by A. LE GAC, M. J. DIAS COSTA, I. DIAS COSTA

Characterization and conservation of Padmanabhapuram Palace: an analytical study by B. CECIL, M. PALLAI

Textile furnishings in historic interiors: recreating the past by I. CAMPAGNOL

Villa della Regina, Torino. Study and conservation of a historical Royal Vineyard Estate now open to the public by C. MOSSETTI, S. ALBANESE, R. BIANCHI, L. D'AGOSTINO, F. FONTANA, P. MANCHINU, E. RAGUSA, P. TRAVERSI, M.C. VISCONTI CHERASCO

Conservation of Chinese Room in Wilanów Palace in Warsaw as a result of multidisciplinary research project by I. ZADROŻNA, A. GUZOWSKA, E. JEŻEWSKA, A. LEŚKIEWICZ-LAUDY

Restoration of the House of Owls at Villa Torlonia in Rome. An example of Architecture and Decorative Arts by A. CAMPITELLI

The Restoration and the Redisplay of Racconigi Castle Second Floor. Historical and Methodological Aspects by M. MACERA, R. VITIELLO, C. CORLANDO, L. GALLO, S. PADOVANI

Evaluation of conservation options for decoratively painted wood, Mission San Miguel Arcangel by D.W. PORTER, R.W. ANTHONY, K.D.DUGAN

Diagnosis of cultural heritage wooden structures. Two cases of studies by E. MAURIN, P. GALIMARD

The mural paintings in S. Maria Maddalena church in Camuzzago: the conservation process by F. CARLINI, D. FOPPOLI, M. GASPAROLI, G. MIANI, R. MOIOLI, E. ROSINA

Session 2: Museums and private residences: principles of conservation

Upholstery conservation in the Acton Collection, Villa La Pietra, Florence by C. BEYER, C. PERRONE DA ZARA

Villa Abegg – from private residence to museum by A. JOLLY, C. KIENZLER

The restoration of Mrs. Mills’s rooms at Staatsburgh State Historic Site: an American Gilded Age example of the holistic view for historic interiors by D. LEE TRUPIN, M. MOORE

Session 3: Museums and private residences: principles of conservation

The conservation campaign at Villa Stibbert. Case studies by K. ACHENGREEN PIACENTI

Historical and methodological aspects of the 18th century French gilt leather tapestry restoration in a historic house: the Maison Mantin project (Moulins, France) by C. BONNOT-DICONNE, J.P. FOURNET, B.H. PAPOUNAUD

The Good Fight: Conservation of the Rouse Hill House & Farm interiors by M. SCOTT

Session 4: Interdisciplinary issues

Wallpaper and textile superposed–destination and presentation after removal. The Chinese boudoir ceiling conservation from the château d’Issou (Yvelines, France) by J. B. MARTIN

Upholstery, how to deal with the textile coverings? Case-study: Project Weissensteinflügel by J. DUMMER

Interdisciplinary collaboration to understand and recreate the splendour of the Marble Closet at the Little Castle Bolsover by H. HUGHES

Marriage of Conservators at Paris' 19th Arrondisement City Hall by M. DUBOST, A.M. GEFFROY, E. HINCELIN, M. MARGEZ, E. PARIS

Session 5: Preserving original context while maintaining a functional role

Strozzi Sacrati Palace in Florence 'a museum itself'. Tapestries and wallpaper conservation treatment by P. CRISOSTOMI, M. GIORGI, G. PALEI, M. PANDOLFI, "SPIRA S.R.L."

United Nations – uniting professions? by M. BERGSTRAND

Decoration of an Italian theatre after the Unification of Italy in 1870: technical implementation and conservation after the great wars in an earthquake zone by G. DE CESARE

Exploring the approach to the conservation and restoration of Taiwan’s traditional temple artefacts by Y. TUNG, S. HSIEH

Session 6: Preventive conservation, care and maintenance

Danish church interiors and their change in colour appearance due to repeated repainting of the furniture by K. VESTERGAARD KRISTIANSEN

Cleaning, condition surveying and maintenance: house keeping Swedish style by A. HALLSTRÖM, E. HEDHAMMAR, L. TAMM

The WEB Environmental Data Sheet for museum and temporary exhibitions by C. CACACE, E. GIANI, A. GIOVAGNOLI, L. GORDINI, M.P. NUGARI

Applying preventive conservation recommendations for silk in historic houses by N. LUXFORD, D. THICKETT, P. WYETH

Painted wood as climate indicators? Experiences from a condition survey of painted wooden panels and environmental monitoring in Läckö Castle, a dehumidified historic building by C. BYLUND MELIN, J. BJURMAN, M. BRUNSKOG, A. VON HOFSTEN

Session 7: Cultural property: changes in the original context

The Gallery of the former town hall of Amsterdam. An interrelation between painting, architecture and light? by E. FROMENT, M. VAN EIKEMA HOMMES, A. ZWAGERMAN, L. MEGENS, M. DE KEIJZER

A Rococo room from a house along the Amsterdam canals on display in the New Rijksmuseum by P. VAN DUIN

Old friends, new places. relocation and conservation of two decorated doors by Australian artist, Donald Friend and Balinese carver, I Made Jojol by D. HINTON

Session 8: Composite material artefacts: conservation projects

The conservation of a Chinese Coromandel lacquer panel from the collection of Villa La Pietra by P. HATCHFIELD

From historic interiors to the conservation studio: a route to knowledge of a Japanese multimaterial textile from the Stibbert Museum in Florence by S. CONTI, L. TRIOLO, M. RIZZI, F. CIVITA, N. KATŌ

Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Tallinn and the conservation of its carved-wood iconostasis by M. LILLEPRUUN, K. SIBUL

Technical study of polychrome clay sculptures from the Buddhist temple complex at Nako, Himachal Pradesh, North India by T. BAYEROVA, M. GRUBER, G. KRIST

Session 9: Materials and artefacts: technical and scientific update

Cleaning of tanned leather: testing with Infra Red Spectroscopy and SEM-EDAX by K. MALEA, S.C. BOYATZIS, M. KEHAGIA

Analysis and preservation of an ancient alum tawed parchment by I. RABIN, R. SCHÜTZ, E. KINDZORRA, U. SCHADE, O. HAHN, G. WEINBERG, P. LASCH

Mechanical characteristics of aged Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa Endl.) wood from Japanese historical buildings by M. YOKOYAMA, J. SUGIYAMA, S. KAWAI

Alteration of gilts on medieval mural paintings by F. DANIEL, A. MOUNIER


SESSION 1: General: Historic Interiors

The Ninfeo of Sacchetti Palace in Rome

Rome, Villa Farnesina alla Lungara, the ‘Frieze’ hall. The conservation of the frieze by Baldassarre Peruzzi and the recovery of the 19th century decoration

Conserving traveling wallpaper. Advanced distribution in the mid to end 18th century reflected in the historic interior

The integration of conservation strategies for the interiors of Juanqinzhai in the Forbidden City, Beijing

Whose blue? The true story behind the sky-blue roof of St. Pancras International Station

SESSION 2: Textiles Working Group

Conservation of a presumably embroidered oriental silk wall decoration with special consideration to the problematic nature of the removal of soot deposits and paint splashes

Nichelino (Torino) Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi: the textiles conservation project

Conservation and weave analysis reveals another layer of history on 17th century wallhangings at Ham House, Surrey, England

The Hunt of the Frail Stag: analysis, conservation, and display of five medieval tapestry fragments

SESSION 3: Leather and Related Materials Working Group

Analysis of acid deterioration of leather

Gilt leather wall hangings in the Stibbert Museum of Florence

Ariccia: in the Baroque country dwelling of the Chigi family, gilt leather and archival documentation

The condition of the gilt leather wall hangings in the Palazzo Chigi, Ariccia, Italy

Identification and symbology of plant species in gilt and painted leather

SESSION 4: Sculpture, Polychromy and Architectural Decoration Working Group

The Balla House in Rome: futurist context and industrial painting media

The church of Saint Savior in Prizren (Kosovo): a double church

The conservation of technical fixtures in historic buildings

The sequence of inscriptions in the Hall of Mirrors revealed by cross-section

Unconventional thermographic and ultrasonic tests for a case study of the stone decoration of St. Leo Chapel in Bova, Reggio Calabria-Italy

Establishing a conservation project for the High Altar by Bernt Notke (1483). The preliminaries

Madonna del Rosario in N.S. della Consolazione Church, Genoa: science dealing with conservation

Glossy and dark blue surfaces on 13th century Mosan wooden sculptures

A new insight into the 18th century gold leaf from a Baroque altarpiece

Projecto Retablo. An interactive tool on material expressions, cultural contexts and conservation approaches for wooden polychromed altarpieces

Kunstmarmor: an unknown presence in architectural interiors of the second-half of the nineteenth century

SESSION 5: Wood, Furniture, and Lacquer Working Group

Restoration and scientific investigation of exquisite historic furniture from the collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein

The Stupinigi Library’s boiseries: two centuries of changes and adjustments

The impact of the frame: one painting’s journey within the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Gilding techniques: case study of the chairs of the gilt room of Malmaison Castle

The challenge of conserving furniture with missing parts: the case study of a bed from the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, Greece

An experimental study of selected gap-fillers for wood restoration

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