8è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Final by Ségolène Girard

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

8è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Final by Ségolène Girard


Seg is speaking !

Hello everyone ! Because now I know I am not speaking all alone (ha ha) actually I was lately saying to Brittany that I thought I was only writing these articles for her (and that I was still happy to do it), and two or three friends of mine. But she told me to look in the insights of the blog, and….to the 90 people that read my last post, and to the others (maybe more) that read my former posts ; I am so very flattered !

It’s been exactly a year after I first started writing on this blog thanks to the spot Brittany allowed me to have. It was also at about the same moment that I met her so that is very significant for me, and probably an important date on the calendar for both of us. But that you will know about in time. So yes it makes me sad, and at the same time very happy to write that last article about the Horse Racing Game, at the same time the end and the beginning of even more great things to share with you people ! So much happened within a year.

Now, the last pictures of the Horse Racing Game with before/after restoration comparisons (I know you all love this, we all do). Enjoy !

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The plateau before and after treatment of the felt, stabilization of the rust, and fixing of the flaking paint :

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.54.20Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.53.03_________________________________________________________________________

A sight of the cardboard of the base that I had to change ;

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.54.42

Remember all the mold it was suffering from ;

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 23.01.32Now with a new non-acid cardboard, and an extension of the flaps that were missing from the base papers. I replaced them and colored them to merge with the originals ;

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.52.23And here is a closer view of the aspect of the paper and the details of the plaque. Remember also that golden papers had all to be replaced, you can see the final result here :

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.52.39_______________________________________________________________________

The cardboard lid was extremely warped. Thanks to the dampening room, weights and patience, I got excellent results as you can see on the following pictures :

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.54.03Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.51.36

Unstucking the papers thanks to the Gore-tex® process allowed me to regain the original flatness and resorb the folds and deformations of the paper. These pictures also gives you the comparison before-after dusting, cleaning and bathes that the papers had been subjects of ;

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.53.46Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.53.23________________________________________________________________________

The pinky-greyish marks are the result of passage of time. I decided not to touch them as I feel that we already get the best results of the original colours with the cleaning process. Nevertheless, I of course executed retouches on the pieces of papers added in order to fill the torn and missing parts. Yet, they are executed in a slightly different tone to let appear the restoration. As part of our ethics, we are not pretending that our restoration never occurred. We are here to extend the life of the object, and if possible, allow a better appreciation of it.

There, on the left and right sides of the corner, and even a tiny piece in the point of the angle.

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 22.50.36And here, visible when close, but invisible when at one meter of distance :

Capture d’écran 2014-05-06 à 23.20.15

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Et voilà :

IMG_4443IMG_4443 copie IMG_4430 copie Capture d’écran 2013-05-06 à 00.30.33 Capture d’écran 2013-05-06 à 00.33.15

Previous: 7è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game -Conservation (Part II)

Read Also: Conserving a papier-mâché barking bulldog

6è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Conservation (Part I) by Ségolène Girard

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

6è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Conservation (Part I) by Ségolène Girard


Seg is speaking !

Finally after a year, here my conservation process. No more talking, let’s get to work.

First, I dismounted the cardboard base that was covered with mold, in order to get rid of it rapidly. It was easy to do since the paper flaps of the base were already unstuck from it. Then I pulled the nails out, it was more delicate because they were so rusted they could break at any moment and remain in the wooden base, unreachable.

Then I dusted all of the game with soft brushes, and powdered rubber. Just like a peeling ! Making sure to go everywhere, insisting on the intern metal parts now accessible with harder brushes made of pig bristle. Everything was removed with soft large brushes of goat hair.

This is a picture of the papers on the lid after this process, you can see the rubber is absolutely grey :

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.05.25

Here is a better picture of its aspect before and after the dusting treatment :

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.09.16

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.08.05

Just with that simple process, it sure looks better ! But that is not all, dusting is extremely important for the interventions to come ; indeed, we are about to bring water to take the papers off. The maximum of the dirt needs to be removed before bringing up some water, because it could cause more stains, or encrust even more the paper.

The papers need to be removed in order to clean them into a bath if the colors holds fine to the paper. The side papers are not too complicated to remove because the sides of the box are already quite flat.

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.32.42

The harder part is the top paper, because the cardboard is curved, and the paper, almost unstuck, is ripping at the limit stuck-unstuck.

We cannot bring directly water on the box, because the cardboard would disintegrate. Now how do we proceed ?

Let me introduce to you ; The Gore-tex® !

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.27.40This technology created especially for the needs of restoration is the sort of gauze here on the picture. It transforms the water held in the soaked blotters (ivory form), into water gas ! The plastic sheet is called Melinex®. It creates a dampening room, this way, the paper will unstuck gently through a night, without any risk of making halos. The only inconvenient is the length of the process, since I had to do it side by side for logical reasons. But it was worth it !

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.48.37There you see it perfectly unstuck without any liquid water added. Magical ? No restoration !

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.50.02Oh wait yes there are stains I know… but it can be explained ! The darker stain is actually the remaining humidity in the paper brought by the Gore-tex®, it was already drying away.

The brown watermarks in the bottom were there already, and that is one of the reason I now processed to a bath, and did as well with all of the other papers.

Cleaning them is important for several reasons ;

=> Visually, it would be nice to remove the remaining dirt that is really encrusted in the paper.

=> Then, it will help us to flatten them, and also the cardboard of the lid, which has to be done separately since the cardboard and the paper moved differently beginning at the moment they got separated by the flood.

=> Flattening them will allow us to repair the tears and gaps, remount golden papers on the edges, and to stick it back on the cardboard.

=> Finally, water will do good by reuniting the fibers of the paper, reorienting them, and getting the oxidize particles off. Indeed, any paper made after the middle of the 19th century has chemical components, that oxidize with time and yellows the paper. This process is inherent to the composition of the paper. We cannot stop it, but we can slow it down with bath.

Be careful, this is not something you can do at home ! Many people use also whiteners ; now if you did not know, never redo this ! You are only destroying further your object. It sure looks great and white again after the bath, but it will now be destroying itself ten times more rapidly, in ten years it will be even yellower than before the bath, a former yellow color that it had gain within 150 years.

Capture d’écran 2014-04-16 à 18.54.27

After having done tests in order to see if the painting held well on the paper, I put them into a bath of water only. You can see the upper paper, and a torn bottom flap. They are laying down on a non-weaved fabric used in restoration, the papers are actually very thin and brittle, and the cloth allows us to take them off the water with no risk of tearing them (a philatelist’s dream !).

With soft brushes and a gentle action I removed all the dirt I could, which was easier as it was softened.

You can see how the paper regained its original color.

Up next: 7è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Conservation (Part II)

Previous: 5è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Diagnosis and Suggested Treatment

2è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Condition report by Ségolène Girard

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

2è Partie. A French Horse Racing Game – Condition report by Ségolène Girard


Seg is speaking !

It has already been a year since the day I introduced this lottery game to my teacher. I have to say it was a pretty exciting day, since I was about to know if I was allowed to practice on such a demanding piece as a second year student. I guess I had light in my eyes when I showed it in class since she accepted.

It always starts with a full report of everything you know and can notice about the object ; its provenance, its history, then the detail of every single thing you can see, even insects hole have their importance, and give you precious pieces of information. Everything must be written with precise localization of the clues. Taking as many pictures as you can is equally important; it helps one follow the evolution of the piece, and prevents from transforming the object in a way that wouldn’t respect its original state.

Staving of the cardboard top

Distorted cardboard top

The game was salvaged by a second-hand goods dealer from a collector’s attic, which had endured water damage. As a result it was covered with mold, the cardboard was caved in and had rings, pieces of metal were rusted, and

the decorating papers were peeling off, and lack of maintenance caused them to tear.

The wood presented insects holes, and the painting on metal and paper was dangerously flaky.

It was observed that between the purchase of the game just after it was saved from the flood, mould percentage had increased of about 70% in a month.

Wooden and carboards bases covered with mould

Wooden and cardboards bases covered with mould

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Oxidized gold edging papers

Also, time did its own work. The bright green of the felt faded away due to light exposure, the gold ribbons were oxidized, and it was worned out by the numerous hands that had touched it. Just as well, the horses were broken in several places, a head, a rider torso, and horse tail are missing.

Made in the 1900s by manufacturers M.J & Cie (M.J & Co), whose history stays unfortunately unknown to me after numerous unsuccessful researches ; this game is known in french as “Jeu de Course” literally “Racing Game”, but very popular in the United Kingdom, it was mostly famous under the name of “French horse riding game”.

Capture d’écran 2013-04-25 à 19.32.24

A French Horse Riding game model very close to the one I own, in good state

Although Horse Riding games from this period of time are always on the model of mine, few differences can be noticed from one game to another. The base is in wood while the top is in cardboard. The structure is covered in black papers with golden edges, sometimes the paper is marbled with dark colors.

A Horse Riding game with three hoops

A French Horse Riding game with three hoops

The horses are in lead while the hoops are in tinplate. There can be two, or sometimes three hoops, painted with red lead paint, the horses are painted with realistic colors and merry tints for the jockeys. I only saw games with a total of 8 horses which are numbered in white. The plateau is covered with a bright green felt which evokes the fresh lawn of the public enclosure.

Capture d’écran 2013-04-27 à 11.06.46

Modern reproduction of a French Horse Riding game with flag

A french flag announces the end of the race, though it is missing on my game. A plaque announcing the manufacturer shines on the front of the base, on which is the trigger to start the mechanism up.

My version of the game measures 5,3 inches in height, and is 10,5 inches wide and in length since it is a perfectly square base. Some games are bigger than others, depending on the number of hoops.

schéma dimensions

Here are a few illustrations I did for my dossier, let me know if you want any translation of the keys.

schéma vue de haut

Illustration showing the game from the top and the different pieces composing the plateau

Captions translation (letters & numbers are pictured down below) :
– manette = lever
– plateau central = central plateau (fixed) (A)
– coupelle = cup (1)
– pilastres = lead pilaster
– rebord en bois, recouvert de papier doré = wooden structure, covered with golden papers
– plateau = large metallic plateau covered with green felt (billard-like), fixed in the wooden structure (C)
– anneau rouge = red ring (fixed) (B)
– emplacement du drapeau = flag spot
– espace chevaux rotatif 1 = space, about 6 mm
– espace chevaux rotatif 2 = space, about 6 mm

schéma mécanique

Cross-section of the mechanism

Captions :

The large metallic plateau (C) covered with green felt (billard-like), is fixed in the wooden structure. The wooden structure is covered with golden papers on the edges, and black paper on the main part. It encloses the box at the bottom and hides the mechanism by holding a cardboard square.

Pilasters are screwed three by three from the angles of the larger structure to its center, four on (C), four on (A) and four on (B). Pilasters hold the red ring (B) as such : a metallic (lace-like) piece pierced in three parts goes on three pilasters at a time, and is secured by a small spear that goes through tiny holes on top of the pilasters.

Two horses roundabouts (7) run between (A) and (B), and the other (9) between (B) and (C). They are actionned by a simple mechanism : when you pull out the outside lever, a spring is actionned and drags a gear down the main pole. It comes back when you let go of the lever and makes the mechanism follow. Flower-shaped gears and washers are placed in-between the base of (7) and (9).

The cup to place bets (1) is pierced and maintains with nut (2) and bolt (3) the main pole (6) that goes through the central fixed plateau (A). It is levelled by a decorative “cone” (5) and washer (4).

Up next: 3e partie. A French Horse Racing Game – A Bit of History (Part I)