Frequently Asked Questions

8. Retouching

What kind of brushes did the conservator use?

Nylon watercolour brushes (sizes 1 and 2).

What adhesive were the dry pigments mixed with to make the retouch paints?
Why were glazes used and where?

The crushed pigments were mixed with Windsor and Newton™ Acrylic Glaze. The paints were a little too matt, so they were given a final coat of the same glaze to blend in with the glossy enamels.

I can still see a few of the fills on the body. Why didn't the conservator completely disguise all the losses?

None of the fills on the body were retouched with paint, only the missing areas of painted enamels. Although the filler for the body colour was tinted to match the colour of the glaze, variations in colour of both the glaze and the filler mean that not every fill is a perfect colour match. A few of these areas can be identified when seen close up. Some restorers completely cover their fills by spraying on the retouching paints. Usually the spray extends on either side of the fill to blend in with the original surface. This makes the repair 'invisible' but also covers up some of the original object. This method tends to disguise the restoration and may deceive the viewer. It is increasingly regarded as a less ethical approach for museum quality objects.

Why do some of the red flowers on the baluster vase look streaky, as if they are bleeding?

The artists who decorated the vase made a mistake when painting the red enamel flowers. Either the red enamel was applied too wet or it melted during firing, causing dribbling.

Disaster!! |  Recovery |  Sorting |  Cleaning |  Reassembly |  Bonding |  Filling |  Retouching |  Completed