SHORE CHAPEL MEMORIAL PLAQUES
O’Sullivan Conservation was engaged to clean and polish a collection of fifty-four copper alloy memorial plaques from the Shore Chapel at the Sydney Church of England Grammar School. The plaques are dedicated to former members of the school community and hang on the Shore Chapel walls. The majority of the plaques were deinstalled by O’Sullivan Conservation, after detailed documentation was compiled recording the exact location and fixings of each plaque, and transported to the studio for treatment, with the remainder treated in-situ.
All fifty-four plaques exhibited degradation of the lacquer coating and visible tarnishing, particularly where the lacquer was missing. Minor areas of green corrosion were also present on several of the plaques. To ensure the long-term preservation of the plaques, their painted incised lettering and tactical recognition flashes a sympathetic treatment plan was devised to improve the overall appearance and legibility of the plaques through minimal intervention. Therefore, the treatment plan included the following steps for each plaque:
- Brush vacuum to remove accumulated dust and grime
- Wet clean of plaque fronts with diluted solvents
- Removal of lacquer and corrosion
- Final clean
- Waxing and buffing of each plaque to inhibit future tarnish and corrosion
The treatment successfully achieved a uniform appearance for each plaque while retaining signs of age and all existing paint. Wax was chosen as a protective coating for its ease of removal and replacement in case of future treatment. A treatment report, documenting before and after treatment for each plaque, along with recommendations for future cleaning and treatment and a schedule of rewaxing were provided.
Upon completion of the treatment the plaques were returned to the Shore Chapel and reinstalled in their original locations.