Sunday, July 17, 2016

First attempt cleaning old textile: Venice Tapestry

When I was about 20, I began collecting vintage images of Venice, particularly antique photos.  When I came across this badly damaged tapestry of Venice, $4 didn't seem much of a risk or gamble-- even in its world-weary state, I still love it. Plus it's a chance to try my hand at cleaning stains from an old textile.  

Based on the spill/fade/soil patterns, I think this cloth was on a buffet or some horizontal surface, maybe with small objects displayed atop it, as there are less-soiled squares that might have been the bases of vases or candelabra.  I did a bit of research, but most information was on cleaning, and not on removing extensive stains.  These may be mildew, but they don't smell bad, so I think it's more likely something was spilled on the piece. 

Sorry, but I should have taken a photo prior to spot cleaning.  We shall see how this goes.  The first real area of concentration was the dome area, (which I DID snap before cleaning) which was the worst staining on the piece.  I soaked the piece with glycerin, waiting 30 minutes, then blotted the glycerin through with a damp cloth, frequently changing the cloth underneath.  You can see on the under-cloth the progressive blottings.  This part is a test, and if all goes well, I'll do this method from one end of the piece to the other, probably in stages.  Hopefully this will yield brighter colors, as well. 


Monkeywrangler said...

Interesting project. How do you get the rest of the glycerin out? Hope you will give progress updates on the cleaning.

c-90 said...

Since it's *old*, try contacting a museum with a restoration lab. See what they recommend as cleaning agents.


Old NFO said...

Hope it works!