We are properly conserving a French-made Planter’s Chair, circa 1860.
(You can begin here, if you like.)
We’ll follow the chair through excavation to the new show-cover.
We left off in the last posting with the Buildup of the Seat.
With the seat buildup completed, Mitchell removed the protective covering
from the inside back (Image #1, discussed why here).
He excavated the original inside back cotton topper (See excavation back —
the image with the seat was blurred so showed the image
without the seat built-up) and horsehair, above.
A thin batting of cotton flocking lint, original to the piece, was exposed;
a good deal of the color is the actual color of this flocking, though it was also dirty.
Both were cleaned and teased as necessary, and laid face down.
The crest (fiber filled) edgeroll and adjacent collar was lashed
to and around the perimeter of the crest to arm hoop,
over the heavy hessian foundational membrane.
After inspection, notes and patterns were created,
then the edgeroll was carefully removed.
The serpentine hair-filled crest and arm “collar” were carefully lifted
from the steel hoop frame after anchoring stitches were cut.
Mitchel retained the stitches within the hessian so he could
refer to them to replicate the original stitch patterning as necessary.
The serpentine hair-filled crest and arm “collar” was laid atop
the original inside back in the order removed.
The “cumberbund” — the lumbar filled support — was carefully
removed, patterned, cleaned and readied for reapplication.
It was also placed atop the other inside back pieces in the order removed.
The hoop frame exposed, with the
original hessian foundational membrane, above.
Finally the original hessian foundational membrane was removed, and the steel hoop (frame) was fully exposed. Notice the nice contour to the seat pod at the rear. From an upholstering engineering perspective, the roll around the seat rear and inside arms play an important function relative to a semi-firm barrier between the inside arm and inside back, keeping a tight fit between those elements. The roll also acts semi-independently from the central portion of the pod, where the primary center of gravity exists, allowing the sitter to drop into the springs without collapsing the seal between the lumbar area of the inside back and the seat. It is also easy to see the geometric flavor of the Art Nouveau style, though the chair precedes the production of that style by several decades.
The back is fully excavated, and we move to the
inside back buildup and conservation, next post!
An overview of the process, from one vantage point, below.
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