Clock art restoration?
October 6, 2009 5:53 AM   Subscribe

How do I have an old unique art piece restored?

I was given that clockwork car at age 6 or so (some 30 years ago) by my grandmother. I didn't treat it very well as a child and sort of forgot about it. Now I've rediscovered it, and some strong sentimental feelings about it, and I'd like it ready to last another 30 years or more.

The piece is old. the backing paper is yellowing and the glue is drying out and failing. You can see that some of the pieces have come loose and shifted around. The frame is worn and some of the clock pieces are starting to tarnish/corrode.

Where/How do you find someone to do this (D.C. area)? What can you expect when you do this?

I'd also be interested in learning anything more about the thing or the guy who made it. I'm not sure if you can read the text in those pics, it says "1911 rolls-royce landaulette G. Burress London". google hasn't been helpful to finding details about that person. I've been unable to even find a similar looking piece.
posted by anti social order to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Just off the top of my head -

The person you're looking for is an objects conservator. There should be several in your area.

Generally, what happens is that you set up a meeting with the conservator, and discuss the condition of your piece, what the conservator might do to preserve or restore it, and what that might cost. They will issue you a written condition report, and a written proposal for treatment, how much it will cost, and an approximate date of completion. Once you give them the go-ahead, they will work their magic. I've seen conservators do absolutely amazing things, including reconstructing sculptures that were practically pulverized into dust.

A conservator probably won't be able to tell you much about the artist, though.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:12 AM on October 6, 2009

Excellent. That term leads to the American institute of conservators ( which is based in DC and has a lot of info on how to pick one and what to expect.

I'd still appreciate any other information from the hive, but that's a very good lead. Thank you.
posted by anti social order at 6:42 AM on October 6, 2009

Not exactly local to DC, but last year Winterthur in Delaware offered conservation clinics - I wonder if they just haven't updated this year's calendar yet?
>>Winterthur offers a clinic each month (September through May) during which the public may bring objects for examination and consultation with art conservation professionals and graduate students, free of charge.
posted by chrisubus at 8:55 AM on October 6, 2009

Since you're in the DC area, you might check to see what resources the Smithsonian offers. After all, it's what they do.
posted by dinger at 9:18 AM on October 6, 2009

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