One month in, I'm starting to make progress on Bertrand Fireplace! I've spent most of my time so far reversing the historic restorations on the tiles. In the past, restorers often covered over the original surfaces of ceramics in order to blend in their fills, or replacement pieces. The images below show how the overpaint extends nearly five centimeters over the original surface of the tiles, almost to the central figure. The original restorer even re-painted the circular "fish roe" designs on the top border--even though it is intact underneath the overpaint!
Images follow showing four of the tiles from Bertand Fireplace before and after I removed overpaint and overfill material. If you're having trouble distinguishing the overpaint, see the introductory post for a false color map of the overpaint.
Beyond treatment, a major part of my conservation work on Bertrand involves public outreach. Treating fireplace tiles in the house offers me the unique opportunity to engage with visitors as part of a tour of the collections. It's been very rewarding to share my work with members of the public who might not ever have heard of conservation!
Winterthur Postgraduate Fellow in Objects Conservation