The Royal West of England Academy - conservation and restoration of the Architecture Lunette
Architecture Lunette - Damaged Canvas

This right-hand section of the 'Architecture' Lunette at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol showed severe blistering and cracking of the canvas, and was very unstable. Dirt had accumulated in the cracks. On closer inspection, it was found that a large water tank had been leaking, with the water filtering through the wall behind the lunette. This had caused the plaster to dissolve.This meant that the affected section of the canvas would have to be removed in order to re-build the section of wall.

Lunette being prepared for cutting back

The section of the Lunette is prepared with Japanese Tissue (or 'facing paper'), which has long fibres that conform to the shape of the surface of the canvas. The tissue will support the canvas until it is safely returned to the wall.

Canvas being cut back

The adhesive used here is 'Isinglass', which is easily removed when necessary. Now that the section of canvas is ready, it is carefully cut away from the damaged wall along the lines of cracks that have formed as a result of the water damage.

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All photographs ©Christoph Oldenbourg