Early C20th Birkenhead Large Della Robbia Plaque
Before coming to the studio, this plaque had remained in the garage of its owner for many years. It had been damaged whilst in its frame, being broken into four sections with various losses to the front and the back. The frame was in good condition, although dusty but its mirror plates required replacing.
The frame was removed and the fragments separated. All sections were cleaned with a weak solution of non-ionic detergent in water, applied with a stencil brush and then this was rinsed off and the sections further cleaned with the controlled used of a Derotor GV steam cleaner.
The edges of the ceramic sections were consolidated with a 7% solution of an acrylic resin in acetone. Then, they were bonded with a stronger % of the same adhesive. Any chips and missing areas were filled with either a plaster based filler or a fine acrylic filler. Large missing areas on the front of the panel were firstly core filled with a plaster based filler and then a top layer of an epoxy coloured paste was added to closely match the colours of the adjacent glaze. All fills on the glaze layer were polished with a plastic polish and then a fine polishing fabric. The fills on the back of the plaque were retouched with acrylic paints with the addition of a matt medium.
The frame was cleaned and waxed, and new mirror plates were added. The plaque was refitted into the frame, with a conservation grade foam as an interface between it and the mirror plates.
Once returned to the client it was not returned to the garage but took pride of place in his home.