1è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Introduction by Ségolène Girard

Restoration of a 19th c. lottery game by M.J & Cie.

1è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Introduction by Ségolène Girard


Seg is speaking !

Last summer, preparing for my second year specializing in paper conservation, I had to find a few engravings or flat objects to work on. But I enjoy brain-teasers; no need to say that I wanted something more challenging.

While meandering in a jumble sale, among My Little Poneys’ toys, corkscrews, and other useless tat people keep, I came across this lottery game. The only antiques dealer of the market had other great pieces, but it is this game that caught my attention.

Capture d’écran 2013-06-19 à 12.56.23

Paper. Cardboard. Wood. Metal. Gears. Felt. Lead paint flaking off. Rust. Dust. And cherry on top: a fair amount of mold – quite a lot actually. Precisely the kind of object my teachers would never want me to touch before I’ve gained enough experience. Did I ever mentioned that my teachers always tear their hair out in my case ? Well once more, I would go against their will, hoping that once more I will manage.

People usually see me as one that has a lot of confidence, but here I’ll confide in you something – I usually get through tricky situations pretending that it’s a piece of cake, even though I know once again I’ve gotten myself into problems. And guess what? It works ! I’ve never had so much success than the times I practiced being positive – End of the self-centered parenthesis.

Back to the bric-à-brac dealer: Literally drooling over the game – to give you an idea – the sight of mold and dust and broken objects has the same affect on restorers as a new pair of shoes onto a fashionista. We need it. We want it. Of course I had forgotten my wallet, and I begged my father to lend me the money. He refused. Here I have to say that as the two stubborn people we are, we had a little brush. I explain ; my father is the kind that usually buys things on a whim. But he doesn’t like to loose a trade. The dealer here was selling the game 30€ ($40). A game of that sort in a good state is 300€ (c. $400). So when he asked for 25, and the trader refused, I said yes for 30 right away, and he said no. For a difference of 5 ! Ha, fathers. I guess he also knew it would be trouble at school. Well I won’t epilogue on this. I don’t know how that happened. But I finally got it.

Dad if you read this, I hope you’re not too vexed, and you realized it was a good bargain in the end. Actually, thank you, it put more pressure on me to succeed in this first demanding restoration. *No pressure. Easiest restoration ever* Anyway life is not without taking risks, and my concept of learning includes mistakes.

This was more of a personal introduction. Next time, I will give you a brief historical of this piece, sketches, and dissection of the different materials, before we get started with the scientific part !

up next : 2e Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Condition Report

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