Chinese hard-paste porcelain saucer. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736 – 1795)

Chinese hard-paste porcelain saucer. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736 – 1795), ca 1745. The interior is decorated en grisaille, heightened in gold with the ‘Resurrection’ scene, within outlined gilt spearhead and linear borders around the rim. The decoration shows Christ in glory rising from the tomb above and surrounded by a background of clouds above the Angel Gabriel sitting on the left looking at the sleeping Roman soldiers all in a landscape background with scattered shrubs.

Structural Damage: The object was broken into 26 fragments, plus several miniature fragments. One large section was missing.

Previous Repair: A chip, present to the outside edge of the rim, had previously been filled and re-touched. A large proportion of the rim had been re-gilded

Surface Effects: Overall, the object was slightly dirty. Several scratches and abrasions were present to the inner and exterior surface. The gilded decoration ws slightly worn.

Cleaning

Surface dirt was loosened with a weak solution of non-ionic detergent in deionised water , applied by stencil brush. Then, the surface was swab cleaned with deionised water.

Bonding, Reconstruction of Missing Area/In-filling Chips

All edges were degreased with acetone, applied using a stencil brush. The fragments were then bonded using a water-white epoxy and were aligned and held in position with various combinations of clamps, tape and supports.

The large missing area and chips were reconstructed with a coloured epoxy paste; a mix of epoxy resin, fumed silica. French chalk and artist’s dry powder pigments.  The colour of these fills was taken to just a tone away from the colour of the ‘true’ glaze. Research identified the missing decoration.

Retouching Missing Decoration/Finishing

Once cured, after 48 hours, the colour fills were refined and polished with various grades of sanding fabric .  A reference text illustrated a similar saucer 1:1 and this was used as a guide for the in-painting of the missing design. Missing decoration was hand-painted using a clear acrylic glaze, acrylic paints and artist’s dry powder pigments. This combination of retouching media was also used to further tone the exterior in-fills; in this case, applied using an airbrush, being careful to contain it within the area of the in-fill. This was polished with various grades of sanding fabric and with a plastic polish. The missing gilded decoration to the in-filled chips and large area of missing decoration was replicated using clear acrylic glaze and Bronze Powders.

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