Behind the scenes with our conservation team

Our highly skilled team of conservation experts always have fascinating projects on the go.

An acquisition of a group of cased images and miniatures by English-Australian artist, photographer and engraver, Thomas Bock (1790–1855), was recently checked, treated and rehoused by the Libraries Tasmania conservation team and is now housed in the Allport collection.

We thought you may like a peek into the delicate work that keeps these treasures in good condition…

Miniature portrait of Isabella Lewis (nee Mackellar)

This item was loose in its frame, had no protection on the back, and the glass cover was dirty.

Conservator Stephanie McDonald carefully removed the locket from the frame by bending the metal tabs with padded tweezers.

She then cleaned the glass with cloth, fabricated a shaped piece of museum board, and a dust cover from black cotton paper (which was sanded and adhered with an archival EVA and starch paste mix). The additional backing meant that the locket was no longer loose.

Reference: FA1346 Miniature portrait of Isabella Lewis (nee Mackellar) in Japanned frame. Location: https://stors.tas.gov.au/ILS/SD_ILS-1247558

Daguerreotype portrait of David Lewis

This item’s embossed leather case was broken at the hinge, so Stephanie McDonald, our conservator, repaired it with Japanese paper inserted under the leather of the spine and adhered with starch paste. The Japanese paper was retouched with watercolour.

photo of portrait box side on

The daguerreotype glass cover was also cleaned, and the package reassembled.

Reference: FA1347 Daguerreotype portrait of David Lewis in an embossed leather case. Location: https://stors.tas.gov.au/ILS/SD_ILS-1248364 

Collection storage

Finally, to house the entire collection safely, conservation officer Gaynor Tollard made small storage boxes with Ethafoam padding for each cased image, and a larger storage box to keep all the items together.

Every week our conservation team are working with some of Tasmania’s most rare and historic items to make sure they are stored safety for future generations.