Republic day started with the flag raising ceremony at the college where we are staying. The students paraded followed by the hoisting of the flag with petals fluttering down and the pledging of the alliance to the Republic.
A new student arrived on the course – Father Mansueto who has an artistic background. How important it is to have a priest who understands conservation and is able to guide restoration in the Churches of Goa. The Archbishop has given his blessing and I hope so will his superior in the Seminary.
Back to the treatments which had already been started, such as the strip lining by Anna. The binder is still sticky 24 hours later, we left it until tomorrow and then we shall make a decision as to how to proceed. The removal of the ply wood was also left as we had tried to consolidate the paint layers in one area and want to see how it behaves.
The students worked on four other paintings which required application of gesso,scalpelling gesso, strip lining with an italian paste and surface cleaning of the seventh Archbishop (cleaning the frame meant removing a wasp’s nest, checking that the termites are no longer there ….quite different from what we are used to).
In between we were sending desperate messages back to Elizabeth in London to sent materials with the other students who are still coming out to help. I am sure that once the India students start working as restorers, they will source the right materials, but right now it takes ages to find anything remotely appropriate.
We seem to improvise quite a bit, and today we needed weights to flatten the paintings, so we raided the garden for flowerpots only to discover a little while later as I was checking the painting that one of the pots had an ants nest. The pots went back in to the garden immediately!