Restoration of a 19th c. lottery game by M.J & Cie.
5è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Diagnosis and Suggested Treatment by S. Girard
Seg is speaking !
And sorry for the delay – the end of my third year is full with the preparation of the two next years : those of my master’s thesis, and long-term internships. Hopefully, I will get the chance to study in England to follow the path of Brittany, and hopefully at Brittany’s future workshop that promises to be filled with any restorer’s dreams, thank to the amazing job she is doing !
Let’s now get into the real process of restoration of my horse racing game.
After a full report of the deterioration it suffers of, and having took many pictures to complete it, I began thinking about options on what would have to be done on the game.
It sort of was a personal project I did on my own, so of course, there are things that after a year I know I would have done otherwise with experience. But I am glad I got the chance to work on that piece so soon, since it has been a challenge the all way long. Also, considering that with only a year +1 I am already reconsidering my choices, and designing new options if I had to deal with a piece like this again, I feel it is very promising, and that this “stepping back” will grow with each year gained in experience.
As a two years student in restoration and conservation of paper works, I envisaged quite advanced actions :
– The game will be dismantled, drawings made to build it back.
– All of the pieces will be treated separately, and first dusted.
– I would then unstick all of the black papers, in order to repair the tears and gaps, and gain in flatness. Also, this would allow me to flatten the cardboard lid, before sticking the papers back. The golden papers, too oxydised would be removed and replaced by new ones. I felt that their now green colour was not rendering back the cheerful aspect of what that of game fortune used to give. If it has only been for the colour, I might have let them, considering them as part of the story the game came trough, but anyway, they were too incomplete, brittle, and could not offer their former protection to the edges.
– The cardboard lower part, covered with mould, will be removed and replaced with a non-acid cardboard used in restoration.
– The base, made out of wood, will be decontaminated because of the insects before putting the papers back.
– The metal parts will be treated against rust.
– Lead painting will be stabilized to prevent it of more flaking.
These actions resume what I dealt with the same way that I would now do it.
The only part that caused me trouble at that time, and that I would have done differently if I had had the time and funds is the treatment of the felt on the plateau. I decided to remove it because of its faded colour, and it was sometimes so thin you could see through it. Also, I wanted to access the metal parts to treat them against rust. It was a very hard choice to make ; choosing between which part to favor, and which to sacrifize. Anyway, I will probably have more time to study these types of problems in the future when I will be my own master on board !