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Thursday, May 29 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Wooden Artifacts Session) What Lay Beneath - Revealing the Original Exuberant Painted Decoration of an 18th century Painted Pennsylvania German Shrank

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An example of the 17th century Pennsylvania German style of cabinetmaking, a rare painted shrank, or cupboard, discovered in 2007 proved to be a unique surviving example of the genre, and one of a few examples possessed of its original painted decoration. Acquired by Chipstone Foundation and scheduled to be exhibited in partnership with the Milwaukee Art Museum, the unique form had endured exposure to fire, a complex history of attention ranging from day-to-day housekeeping to well-intended, albeit inexpert, restorations. Shortly thereafter - in the early 1800’s - the cabinet was completely repainted using a monochrome casein-bound paint.
Cross-sectional analysis, pigment identification and micro chemical analysis aided in the characterization of object substrate and applied decoration layers. What was clearly a robust pattern of surface decoration – a structure of rich faux burl members framing white presentation panels detailed with vibrant arabesques of brush-applied color – remained obscured beneath a substantial and seemingly intractable accumulation of lead white pigment dispersed in an aged proteinaceous binder.
This presentation gives a brief history of the shrank as a particular German cabinet form, and the curatorial discussion and conservation analysis that led to the decision to remove the 19th century overpaint and reveal the painted decoration original to the ornate cupboard.


Scott Nolley                                       

Head, Fine Art Conservation of Virginia
Scott Nolley heads the Richmond based firm of Fine Art Conservation of Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree in Art Conservation from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1996 he earned his Master's Degree in Art Conservation from the program at Buffalo State College, formerly... Read More →

Thursday May 29, 2014 4:30pm - 5:00pm PDT
Regency Room