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Thursday, May 30 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
(Textiles) Renewing The Past: Pressure Mounting Two Large Fragmented Flags

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Two silk flags, the Colours of the 3rd York Militia Regiment from the War of 1812, were recently treated in the textile lab of the Canadian Conservation Institute. The King’s Colour is a pieced Union Jack and the Regimental Colour has a plain field with attached silk fringe and silk embroidered motifs located in the two upper corners, centre and lower centre. Several challenges were posed by the powdering condition of the silk, the extreme degree of fragmentation and loss, the large size – each flag measures approximately 5’ by 8’ - and the materials and methods used in previous restorations. In 1927 both flags were stitched between coarse cotton netting. At some time in the 1970s the netted flags were mounted between Plexiglas and foam board. Unfortunately, double-sided carpet tape was used to attach the top edge of each flag to the foam board support. These two actions, i.e. sandwiching between net and pressure mounting, had served to preserve what remained of the flags. However, the materials used had become deteriorated, unsightly, and did not provide adequate support, consequently they were removed. The condition of the flags precluded other treatment options such as an adhesive lining or overlay stitched to a fabric covered support. Therefore netting and pressure mounting were repeated using contemporary conservation grade materials and techniques. This paper will focus on the second step, pressure mounting, using one of the flags, the Regimental Colour, as an example. The mount consists of an aluminum honeycomb panel covered with cotton flannel, needle punched polyester, cotton display fabric and custom dyed cotton fabric to compensate for losses.
Pressure mounting is often described in the literature for stabilizing and mounting relatively small, fragile textiles or large textiles that are more or less in one piece. Unfortunately, these flags presented another situation, i.e. large, powdering, and extremely fragmented textiles. In order to develop a treatment protocol, information was gathered from several conservators experienced with the technique. In addition, practical tests were done to determine how the needle punched polyester batting would compress over time under the weight of the acrylic glazing. Trials, conducted during the demonstration of a commercial thin-film pressure mapping system confirmed that recesses cut in the batting to accommodate the thickest embroideries did indeed equalize the pressure from the glazing. Unfortunately, the sensors were not sensitive enough to measure the actual pressure. Other aspects that will be discussed include the glazing and frame. A UV filtering acrylic was selected due to its abrasion resistant, anti-reflection, and most importantly, anti-static properties. An aluminum framing system was designed in house. It consists of an inner frame which reduces bowing of the acrylic, and an outer frame which attaches the glazing to the panel. How the netted flag was transferred onto the correct position on the dyed compensation fabric attached to the mount will also be described.


Jan Vuori

Senior Textile Conservator, Canadian Conservation Institute

Thursday May 30, 2013 4:00pm - 4:30pm EDT
JW Marriott White River Ballroom C-D 10 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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