As painting conservators in a mixed group specialty practice, we also treat the surfaces of a wide variety of painted objects. These painted objects may be flaking and unstable, covered with dust and grime, and deteriorated by historic use. Every object is unique and may require consultation with staff or respected colleagues, or some research and testing due to the vast range of possible support materials. Understanding how the supports deteriorate, and what materials may safely be used with them, is necessary to design an appropriate preservation treatment plan to stabilize and clean the paint layer.
Additionally, cosmetic treatment must be considered if use or incident damage should be visibly left to tell the story of use. Over the years we have treated an early military trunk, the historic finishes of horse drawn vehicles, paintings on porcelain bowls, Tole trays, Susan B. Anthony’s painted tambourine, painted clock dials on metal and wood, a steam locomotive head lantern, painted plaster relief, painted silk parade banners, figurines, and more.