Monthly Archives: December 2014

Dining Room Fabric Wall Covering at Wilderstein


Spicer Art Conservation, LLC cleaned and stabilized the original wall covering in the dinning room of Wilderstein, an elaborate Queen Anne style country house with views of the Hudson River.

The interiors of the house were all designed by New York City decorator, Joseph Burr Tiffany in 1888. The Dining room is in the English Renaissance style with a coffered ceiling, carved woodwork, and a plaster frieze. The wall covering is a wool, silk, and cotton fabric with large golden chrysanthemums woven into the design.

Here the treated and cleaned wood is visible at the top of the arched areas. It is in great contrast to the untreated wood. The wall covering treatment is also quite visible. The lower area is cleaned, while the upper area is to be cleaned.

Over the years the wall covering has become covered with a thick layer of soot, disfigured by water stains, and has pulled from its attachments.

Read more about this, and our other wall cleaning projects, on our blog Inside the Conservator’s Studio.


In the image above, Gwen Spicer examines a section of the wall covering that had pulled away from the wall.

Herter Brother’s Smoking Room at the Victoria Mansion


The restoration of Victoria Mansion‘s Turkish Smoking room transformed the small 9 x 9 foot room. This is the first documented smoking room in a residential house. The reproduction fabrics used in the upholstery, and all of the trims were carefully reproduced, from the vast and thoroughly saved documents and examples in the collection. The upholstery fabrics and trims were all applied using tackless conservation upholstery techniques.

Before image of the long sofa.
After image of the long sofa.

More can be seen at their website.

Wide Awakes’ Campaign Transparency

A rare Campaign Transparency from 1860 is constructed of a wooden box frame and covered with printed cotton fabric on two sides. This artifact, is from the collections of the Columbia County Historical Society, was made for and used by the Chatham branch of the Wide Awakes at political rallies. It retains is original pole and metal braces. Follow the treatment on Facebook. This unique artifact will be on display in their up-coming Civil War exhibition, “Civil War Panorama, Columbia County 1860-1865”, which opened in July of 2012. More on the project can also be found in our blog Inside the Conservator’s Studio.

 CIMG1284 CIMG1287

An oil lamp would have been secured in place on the base inside the fabric box. Ghost marks survive and nail holes are present at the center of the wooden base.


The two lost sides of the transparency are going to be compensated with new cotton fabric in a color that blends. Diane Schewchuk, curator came to assist with the selection of the fabric. A protective cover was constructed to be used for storage.


The Wide Awake transparency was on display at the Columbia County Historical Society in their Civil War exhibition, “A Civil War Panorama, Columbia County 1860-1865”. 


Read more about Object Conservation at Spicer Art Conservation.

Cyanotype Quilt

This patchwork of sixty-six cyanotypes of people, animals and places in New York’s Capital Region, was lined with a satin weave fabric and attached to a board with several rows of double-sided tape. The focus of the treatment was to better preserve the patchwork.

cyanopatchBT 102-0250_IMG

The patchwork quilt was vacuumed overall and stitching along the perimeters was released to remove the backing fabric. An overall cleaning was performed, and the patchwork was carefully and slowly dampened to align and straighten areas of the textile. A storage mount was constructed from acid-free board with strips of 4-ply board hinged to the four sides with linen tape. The textile was sandwiched between a muslin handling sling and a layer of acid-free tissue. The paper label of the image’s identification was encapsulated in a Mylar L-envelope.


A wonderful early coverlet arrived at Spicer Art Conservation in two halves with numerous damaged areas. The two halves had long ago been separated and therefore showed very different histories. The colors of the dyes of one half had greatly shifted in comparison to the other. Initially, the treatment included rejoining the two halves once the damaged areas were stabilized. After considerable discussions, the owner felt that the coverlet would remain as two separate pieces. 

 10-43a BT obverse

Before and after treatment of stabilized areas.

10-43b BT detail obverse 5 10-43b AT detail obverse 3

Epaulettes & Storage Box

page71_1  10-06 Rogers BT-3

It is not often found a set of epaulettes with their original box. The surfaces were cleaned. The velvet lining of the metal storage box had become insecure. The lining was aligned and secured to the internal surface of the box.

Rogers DT-1 page71_4


Supports for the Epaulettes and protective storage box for the group.

Read more about Object Conservation at Spicer Art Conservation

Mannequin Construction for America By Air exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Spicer Art Conservation, LLC was been contracted by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum to construct 33 mannequins to support the uniforms of pilots and flight attendants from a variety of airlines for their upcoming exhibition America By Air, opening in the Fall of 2007 in the Hall of Air Transportation. We worked with SmallCorp who fabricated the armatures for the mannequins. 


More about the mannequins can be found at NASM’s website.

 A&S Protos w and wo head

For more information about our custom mannequin design, please choose “mannequins” from the pull-down menu under collection care, or click here.