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Our regular readers will remember my post about going to the stores in search of an object in need of some attention, where I stumbled upon a Norwegian Bridal Crown. Well seven months later and its ready to be returned having gone through thorough analysis, recording, cleaning and restoration it is hardly recognisable as the same object!

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The bridal crown as it wasbrought out from the stores

There were three major steps and issues to over come during the conservation of the bridal crown: re-positioning and replacing the detached and missing silver pendants, supporting the wire framework without putting pressure on the beaded headband and the cleaning of each of the thousands of beads.

Cleaning was the first job to be carried out. The beads were cleaned with 50:50 water and Industrial Methylated Spirit (IMS) and the silver and gilded pendents with precipitated calcium carbonate, a fine abrasive.

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Before and after cleaning the pendants with precipitated calcium carbonate

A mount was made from buckram, a perspex stand and stainless steel framework to support the bridal crown and prevent it from breaking again in the future. The bridal crown is now tied to this support and cannot be removed from it without extensive work however without this support its original form could not have been restored.

Finally the broken pendants and missing beadwork were re-attached and replaced. Those pendants still in place were analysed to find clues to the original pattern so that those which had broken off could be replaced in the correct order. The missing beads were replaced with clear plastic beads and the pendants with misted styrene. It was important that any new additions to the object were easily identifiable as new but that they didn’t draw the eye away from the rest of the object.

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Replacement pendant made from styrene next to original

A new box has been made for the object so that it will be safe from possible physical damage and from dust or dirt from settling on the surface. Having completed this project I am pleased with the result and hope that it does not remain in storage for long.

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The completed Bridal Crown – Front

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The completed Bridal Crown – Back

Having come to the last week of my placement I would like to thank those in the conservation department at Manchester Museum for the amazing opportunity to work along side them as they care for and preserve an incredible collection. It had been a fantastic experience.

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