TROPHY CARVINGS IN THE STYLE OF GRINLING GIBBONS

WEST WYCOMBE CHURCH

Please use the arrows to scroll through the photos or the thumbnails at the bottom. 

Clicking on an image will open a full-size photo.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The right-hand trophy after removal from the oak Chancel panelling at Saint Lawrence Church, West Wycombe

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Before, dust and debris collected whilst on display.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Furniture beetle, commonly known as woodworm, exit flight holes.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The extent of furniture beetle damage within the carvings. Note the shiny varnish applied, probably a previous attempt to consolidate the carvings. The trophy received Thermo Lignum treatment (a pest eradicating treatment which involves heating the object in question to 52 ͦC in a sealed chamber, whilst maintaining the Relative Humidity at a safe level, to shield the object from the effects of heat. No chemicals or noxious gases are used) to eradicate the infestation.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The carvings appeared to have a number of paint layers and surface finishes, probably applied at different times. Cleaning tests were conducted with aqueous solutions, solvents and cleaning gels. Wet cleaning was very labour intensive and several applications were necessary and produced mixed results.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The cleaning action involved a degree of contact with the delicate carvings and there was the risk of further damage occurring. It took nearly two hours to clean this section of carving and it disintegrated.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Laser cleaning tests in progress with a Nd:Yag laser.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Laser cleaning test – detail.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

This section of carving took one hour to clean, half the time as a similar section and as the laser is a ‘contact free’ method of cleaning, it did not result in further damage.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Laser cleaning test – removal of the thick varnish layer

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Old repairs to the reverse of a section carving. There was evidence of white glue, cotton bandaging, masking tape and window putty (used as a filler).

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Detached sections of carvings were cleaned to remove old scotch glue residue. Dust and dirt from the carvings and the oak support was removed using a vacuum cleaner and a soft brush. The vacuum nozzle was covered with gauze to prevent loose pieces being drawn up into the vacuum cleaner.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Laser cleaning in action.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Detail of laser cleaning.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The oak support after gluing and clamping

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Wooden batons were placed to the top and bottom of the panel and were clamped to the table to encourage the panel to flatten. The batons were gradually tightened as the panel gradually relaxed and flattened.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The oak support joins reinforced with cotton fabric and animal glue.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The furniture beetle damage to the putti consolidated with a solution of Paraloid B72 adhesive, dissolved in acetone, injected directly into the flight holes. Various strength solutions were injected and the consolidation process was on-going throughout different treatment stages.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Consolidation and repairs to a detached section of carving.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Gluing and re-attaching the carved elements. Wooden dowels were used to secure the carved elements. A small hole was drilled, through a flight hole and through to the oak support.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The trophy after cleaning. The ‘original’ and earlier Grinling Gibbons style carvings are darker in colour and the later additions are lighter. Some detached pieces have been re-adhered. Masking and veneer tape has been used to hold pieces in position whilst the animal glue dried. The oak support was cleaned with oxalic acid, neutralised with acetic acid and then alcohol.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Detail of the finished trophy. So that the earlier and later carving additions matched, they were coloured with a water stain. The carvings and the oak support were waxed with a furniture wax.

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

Trophy Carvings, West Wycombe Church

The completed trophy back in position, following conservation treatment. A building survey of the Church and an integrated pest management report with care recommendations was supplied, so that possible re-infestation could be avoided.