Half way through – but a long way to go
It’s Monday morning and we are half way through our programme, and yet there is still so far to go. We arrive early at the Palace and I sneak into the garden to look at the birds that are happily eating the Archbishop’s papaya. One red whiskered bulbul, a white-cheeked barbet and a few others which I have not yet identified – although all common here they have such vibrant colours.
Inside the studio eight Archbishops await our attention. We have brought these ones down as with one exception they have been all cut out and stuck on cotton and then nailed to the rosewood frame. It’s a very strange way of treating the paintings which have obviously undergone some considerable damage around the edges – we can only imagine that there has been either water damage or something like termite infestation to the old stretchers to necessitate this kind of intervention. Caetano has organized four new stretchers and is about to order the others. They all have slightly different sizes.
Anna arrived yesterday from London, she assists us at the school and is also a guest speaker to courses on Conservation in Holland. She travels there quite regularly and help the conservators. She has prepared her lectures for the students here on cleaning gels (latest methods used by R. W., the authority on solvents).
Milena is eager to reline her own painting, an early copy of ‘La Madonna della Seggiola’ by Raphael. The canvas is see through, I cannot image what has happened for it to be in such precarious conditions. Joe has asked her to allow him to reline it and under the watchful eyes of Milena, they proceed preparing the table for this treatment. It is great that they are doing their own reline.
Sheila has found a dust free zone to varnish our first portrait. I am so relieved that we have one ready to go back on the wall. Joanna is there checking and watching all, what a fabulous help she is proving to be overseeing the treatments in the studio, not to mention the accommodation she has provided with the two magnificent houses that she has rented on the Mandovi river.
We change our habit and deliver the notes after lunch. Big mistake! It’s clearly not a good time, as I can spot a few droopy eyes and a few yawns, so changing tack I start asking questions to keep them alert. Time to go, we have an appointment for the team to look at some possible conservation work and then dinner to discuss a very interesting project on heritage and the community, and how to help Goa to maximise the opportunity.