Cabinet for storing a numismatic collection

England, second half of the 17th century
polychrome wood; gilding; gilded brass
h. 40 cm; w. 37 cm; depth 28 cm
no. ATM 1848

Bibl.: Ratković Bukovčan, Bogdanović, Petrinić, Desnica, Šatović, 2015, p. 8, 9; 21 -23;
Lit. Baarsen 2000., p. 1, photo 1-4.

The cabinet was in extremely bad repair. Large damage to the wood has been repaired by impregnation with consolidants and replacement with new, fittingly designed wood pieces. Analysis of the painted layer discovered several layers of secondary overpaint. On the front and on the sides of the cabinet there were thick layers of non-original dark shellac and a coat of wax, while on the top of the cabinet contain there were two layers of oil overpaint. The overpaint followed the composition of the original image only in part, which significantly changed the original aspect of the artefact.

Goran Petrinić
senior conservation technician
at the Mimara Museum

Condition of the cabinet before conservation and restoration work

The decision to remove the poor quality overpaint, which did not contribute to the aesthetic and historical valuation of the artefact, was justified especially for the discovery of the relatively good condition of the original painted layer. Reconstruction of the missing parts of the painted layer has been done only in the areas where it was possible to determine the original condition. The other areas have been repainted in the local tone of the black background. Non-original darkened varnish and corrosion on the gilded brass parts have been removed chemically and mechanically. Reconstruction of the missing part from the top of the cabinet has been done in the authentic material (brass).

The right side of the cabinet before and after conservation and restoration work
Detail of the cabinet with the overpaint on the top surface
Detail of the cabinet after removal of overpaint and reconstruction of the painted layer
Investigation using melt tests of the non-original layers of varnish
A detail of the investigation documenting the condition of the original painted layer under the dark overpaint

Extensive damage on the back side of the cabinet caused by woodworm

Reconstruction of the missing brass element:
A – the original, B – the copy

The cabinet after the completion of conservation and restoration work:

Cabinet for storing a numismatic collection, ATM 1848