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Introduction 

What preceded cleaning the ceiling painting:

Schoonmaken plafondschildering

The start of the restoration project

The owner who bought a beautiful mansion from 1860 in The Hague, felt directly responsible for preserving this ceiling piece in the garden room. The work had had a rough life. A missing stretcher frame cut clamping strips, many tears and wax and resin covering that are no longer sufficient, pollution, and discolored overpainting are the starts of a great project. 

Colleagues from here and abroad, interns, and the owner have put their shoulders to the wheel together. 

The desire to match the badly damaged painting with a modern sitting room and upholstery that looks perfect. How are we going to tackle this?… step by step and with full confidence that we will succeed.

Cleaning ceiling painting
testing with the microgels from the Modular Cleaning Program

Cleaning ceiling painting

Cleaning ceiling painting

We have applied the Modular Cleaning Program (The MCP) to clean the ceiling painting. Because the painting was definitely dirty!

Testing the cleaning

The painting was covered with a layer of varnish. And we tested free polar solvents and ketones tested for varnish removal. Subsequently, Pemulen gels and microgels were tested for the cleaning and Ethomeen-Carbopol tests for the removal of the varnish. All tests have shown that a mixture of Naphthasol D40 and benzyl alcohol in a gel of Carbopol with Ethomeen C12 gives the best result. Some different ratios have been tested. 70-30, and 50-50 work well. These mixtures can be used alternately. The mixture is applied with a white synthetic brush and gently rubbed over the surface. After the varnish and dirt have dissolved in the gel, it is wiped of using a tissue. The subsequent cleaning was carried out with Naphthasol D40. Both the cleaning and the post-cleaning were repeated several times.

Cleaning ceiling painting
at the beginning of cleaning

Stripped state’

After removing all this brown dirt and yellow varnish and overpaint, the ‘stripped state’ has been reached. This is what is left of the original materials such as the paint layer. From the ‘stripped state’ you can build up again. Normally an overview photo is taken of this phase, but since this painting could not be photographed properly, only an overview of the space was made.

Cleaning ceiling painting
the clean ceiling painting 
‘stripped state’
★ I like to share my knowledge of paintings and love for conservation with colleagues and clients ★

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