Hunting with the Amazons

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Scrapbook prior to disassembly

Well…probably not the kind of Amazons you’re thinking about, these were the Amazon-class steam screw sloop’s HMS Daphne, Dryad and Nymph of the Royal Navy and the “hunt” occurred off the East Coast of Africa as they worked to suppress the African slave trade.

I became interested in this story after the library transferred an album of watercolors and sketches over to the object collection (which is where works of art normally live).  The album contained thirty-seven images created by Lt. William Henn of the Royal Navy. For you America’s Cup fans that name should sound familiar.  Henn and his wife Susan and their pet Maltese monkey, Peggy, raced their 90-ton cutter yacht Galatea (which was also their house!) against Mayflower in the 1886 America’s Cup.   Read more

Even the lion has to defend himself against… lichen?

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The Lions are ready for the catwalk again. Conservation cleaning of four of the Museum’s most iconic treasures is complete for this year.

These before and after images highlight the reduction of biological growth from the surface of the stone. As mentioned in a previous post  (see A Lion by Any Other Color…), lichen, moss, and ‘mildew’ all degrade the surface of the stone. Without regular and careful cleaning and care, the details in Anna Hyatt Huntington’s sculptures can be lost over time.   Read more

A Lion by Any Other Color. . .

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The conservation team in front of the Southwest Lion during cleaning. Left to Right: Assistant Objects Conservator Paige Schmidt, USS Monitor Collections Manager Mike Saul, Assistant Conservator Laurie King, Archaeological Conservator Erik Farrell, and Volunteer Conservator Arianna DiMucci. Image Credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park, photographer: Crystal R. Hines

If you’ve visited our Lions Bridge over the last couple of weeks, you may have seen our signature Lions turning shades of red and orange.  Never Fear! Nothing is wrong.  Rather, the conservation team is giving our Lions a ‘grooming.’

These cleaning sessions are done to maintain the longevity of our Lions.  Biological growth and air pollution on the limestone sculptures and granite bases will damage them over time.   Read more

Venice’s Marriage to the Sea

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Hand-colored copperplate engraving titled ‘The Doge in the Bucintoro Departing for the Porto di Lido on Ascension Day.’ The original artwork was created by Canaletto and engraved by Giovanni Battista Brustolo. This third state engraving was printed by Teodoro Viera in Venice sometime around 1787. [Accession# LE 831]

This weekend marks the annual Festa della Sensa in Venice.  Although the festival didn’t start until 1965 it commemorates and recreates the ancient traditional ceremony of Sposalizio del Mar, the event in which Venice is symbolically married to the sea.

The origins of the ceremony date to the period when Venice was a sovereign state (from 697 AD to 1797 AD).  It commemorates two important events in the state’s history: the May 9, 1000 departure of Doge Pietro II Orseolo with a fleet on the successful mission to subdue Narentine pirates threatening Venetian power, trade and travel on the Adriatic and Doge Sebastiano Ziani’s successful negotiation of the Treaty of Venice in 1177. The treaty ended a long standing conflict between the Holy Roman Empire headed by Frederick Barbarossa and the Papacy.   Read more

The Bronze Door Society Paves the Way for New Possibilities at the Museum!

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Zeiss Axioscope 5 Microscope, equipped with transmitted and reflected bright field, dark field, polarization, and UV fluorescence. In the lab, mounted with Axiocam 305 camera with workstation and ZEN imaging software. Image credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

My pitch to The Bronze Door Society during the annual project selection dinner last fall dressed as Sherlock Holmes (and complete with an impeccable English accent, if I do say so myself) was well worth it. After months of anticipation, the Batten Conservation Complex’s new microscope, one of the projects funded by The Bronze Door Society, has finally arrived! (to learn more about The Bronze Door Society, go here: https://www.marinersmuseum.org/bronze-door-society/).

The new Zeiss Axioscope 5  will allow conservators and scientists to view samples at high magnification with polarized light, darkfield and brightfield illumination, and ultraviolet visible fluorescence. These analytical features, in conjunction with our new workstation, camera, and imaging software, will allow us to view, capture, and share information that we previously could not attain in-house.   Read more