H. de Roos - Towards a catalog of the Maclaren collection
Patination From The Air And Other Technical Indications Of Age
In this letter, Dr David Schaff valued Curator Mary Reid´s assessment of the physical age of the plasters as "an important finding which verifies the age of the plasters beyond comparison and politics".
Since this promised to be the much-needed evidence for
the MacLaren´s claim "that the majority of these works, especially
in importance, date from the artist's lifetime",
P.S.: Maybe you can say a word or two on the
"recent conservation" as far as relevant to dating the plasters?
In her return message, Mary Reid confirmed her opinion on the age of the plasters, but acknowledged to be no technical expert on the physical processes involved:
I will have Elizabeth Zimnica send you a copy of the conservation report if you would like it but all I can say is that the works had significant (amounts) of grime and dirt and dust that had built up over a number of years with evidence of old cracks, chips and fissures.
In addition the circular rusty orange stains on most of
the works is a result of the iron armature rusting and bleeding out to the
surface. The iron armature is rusting because the plasters have seeming
been exposed to an environment with a relative high humidity level above
Now I am no expert on the rate of the rusting of iron
and moisture absorption of plaster but I am sure that the stains that
appear on our plasters did not happen overnight and must have taken many
many years to occur.
But still I was not convinced this judgement would safely exclude the possibility such plasters were made only after 1917.
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