century Spanish Colonial Santos figure was missing five fingers, her nose and
her left eyelids. The gesso substrate layer was delaminating, with major losses
in the face and hands. The right arm was also very loose. The overall appearance
was distracting and difficult to appreciate.
Treatment included reconstruction
of the face and securing the wobbly left eye. The conservation began with consolidation
of the gesso substrate layer with a solution of Acryloid B72 and toluene applied
to the friable areas. The process was repeated three times, allowing at least
24 hours between applications. The eyelids and nose were fabricated and missing
areas filled and brought to the original surface.
The damaged right
arm was dismantled and cleared of old adhesives. A wood dowel replaced the large
nail in the right shoulder. Reconstruction was with a traditional hide glue.
The remaining fingers were then restored to perfect shape with a putty of Acryloid B72 bulked with calcium carbonate. Latex molds could now be taken from the originals in order to cast the new replacement fingers out of tinted and bulked two-part epoxy. After being attached, joins were carefully filled and blended to match the original patina.