Grimwade Conservation Services is committed to delivering premier conservation treatment, informed by current and best-practice research, techniques and materials.
Restoring Joan Blaeu’s Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus (Eastern and Asian archipelago), 1663
National Library of Australia Collection
Over 1.5 metres in width, the Blaeu map is the first large-scale map of New Holland, and one of only four complete copies known to exist. It is the earliest large-scale map of Abel Tasman's discoveries, and is regarded as the first wall map of Australia.
WATCH: The conservation team working on the Blaeu map. Video: Paul Burston and Sarah Fisher/University of Melbourne
Restoring one of the world's rarest maps
Over 350 years ago, Dutch traders produced the first large-scale map of Australia, now it has been painstakingly restored.
Grimwade Conservation Services team prepare the Blaeu map for its return to the National Library of Australia. Picture: Supplied.
Faithfully conserving a Rembrandt
The Three Crosses is Rembrandt’s powerful depiction of Christ’s crucifixion – but how do you stabilise a 350-year-old print for exhibition while preserving the qualities which make it distinct?
Conservator Christine Mizzi prepares the print at Grimwade Conservation Services. Picture: Paul Burston, University of Melbourne.
Bringing a fire damaged book from the brink
A new approach to restoring parchment has saved a WW1 Book of Remembrance commemorating local fallen soldiers that was badly damaged by fire and water.
Detail of The Book of Remembrance, a handwritten memorial to the men of the 58th Battalion Australian Imperial Force (AIF), most of whom died at the WW1 Battle of Fromelle. Picture: Supplied.
Cleaning, filling and inpainting a Ramsay
In late 2019 the painting conservation team, led by Senior Paintings Conservator Cushla Hill, worked to restore a small oil painting by influential Australian artist Hugh Ramsay (1877-1906).
Senior Paintings Conservator Cushla Hill inspects the painting by Hugh Ramsay. Picture: University of Melbourne.
Conserving Australia's cultural record
The partnership between the Warmun Art Centre and the Grimwade Centre is based on the mutual understanding that together we can do much more for our two communities than working separately.
Warmun Art Centre Chairman Gabriel Nodea working on a restoration outside the Warmun Art Centre. Picture: University of Melbourne.
Before and after treatment
This work was in a degraded condition, with two large tears, dirt across the surface, and a degraded, darkened varnish covering the painting. The painting was cleaned and the discoloured varnish removed. The tears were repaired using a thread-by-thread mending technique. A conservation-grade varnish was applied, and the losses filled and inpainted to match the original surrounding paint layer.
In this drawing, the most obvious damage was the dark yellow stains. The paper was washed using specialist techniques and solutions to reduce the staining. Final treatment steps involved humidifying and pressing the drawing, then rehousing it in a 100% cotton rag mount board.
This large Colossus Globe was severely discoloured, due to degradation of the natural resin varnish layer. There was some cracking and losses of both the plaster globe and paper map. The loose elements were secured. The discoloured varnish was removed and the surface cleaned. Areas of loss were filled and losses were inpainted, followed by a final spray-coating of varnish.
This large Honour Roll had been splashed with off white oil paint. Removal of the white paint was undertaken using a solvent gel. This enabled removal of the white paint without affecting the underlying gold lettering. Removal of the old varnish layer was undertaken with organic solvents. Revarnishing and selective retouching in areas of loss were undertaken.
Current industry research projects
Conservation Workflow Project
The Conservation Workflow Project was initiated in June 2021 to explore best-practice conservation workflow management systems for large organisations with collections of cultural material.
At present, processes for managing conservation workflow in organisations are largely manual and not integrated with digital collection management systems. Nationally and internationally, there is a substantial research gap in terms of benchmarking solutions to this problem. Drawing on data from interviews with key stakeholders, conservation workflow management systems at different organisations will be reviewed. The findings will have relevance to collections at the University of Melbourne, as well as the wider conservation industry and collecting organisations.
For further information, please contact our lead researcher Ainslee Meredith by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project has been generously supported by the Russell and Mab Grimwade (Miegunyah) Fund.
National Trust of Australia
Our team of professional textile conservators worked onsite with the National Trust of Australia's Edwardian costume collection to train over 17 student conservators and National Trust collection staff and volunteers in a range of technical skills over a period of 10 days. CostumeLAB was a joint initiative of the University of Melbourne and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). In 2021 the project was awarded a Highly Commended at the Victorian Museums and Galleries Awards for dynamic programming and the promotion of conservation.
CostumeLAB was supported by The Copland Foundation and the Vera Moore Foundation.
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