I have referred to this week’s Find it Friday object in an earlier post (HERE) but now I have completed work on it I have decided to have a closer look.
This Globe is part of the support collection that sits on site at Staircase House. It is located on top of a cabinet in the bedroom on the ground floor (known as the linen room). This bedroom has various uses; it is open to the visiting public and is also used as the setting of Samuel Pepys bedroom where he was sleeping when he was informed that the Great Fire of London had started on Pudding Lane in September 1666. This is, of course, part of the sessions put on by the Heritage Facilitators for education sessions and school visits. Stockport is quite a distance away from London and Pudding Lane is not visible from the windows of Staircase House!
More recently this room has been used as a location to film scenes for the Channel 4 production, The Mill. Currently filming season two, this room has been used on two separate occasions in the past couple of weeks and will be used again to film further scenes for the show. However, this room is not being used as a bedroom, but as a tavern. This meant that all the objects we have in this room, including large pieces of furniture and the bed have to be removed and stored away every time.
The first time the film crew visited and the objects were removed an inventory was conducted to assess that everything we expected to be there was there, we tracked the objects so everything was accounted for and we knew where they were located whilst not in their usual locations and a condition check was done to make sure all the objects were ok currently and were still ok after the film crew had left. This was important as some of our objects, such as a few chairs, stools, benches and tables were used in the room for the filming. This review highlighted one object as decreasing in quality and that could use some conservation work; the 17th century globe.
This meant that instead of storing the globe away on site at Staircase House I was able to bring it back to the curatorial services and work on it so that when the room was redressed as a bedroom (after the second filming session, a few weeks later) it could be reintroduced into the display.
The globe sits on a wooden stand and is covered in small illustrations and beautiful geographical drawings and information, however, the globe is not completely accurate.
It was only during the 16th century that the world began to be viewed as a moving object around the sun and with past disbeliefs, such as the well-known “the earth is flat” theories it is understandable that at this still relatively early time a lot remained unknown or misinterpreted about our home planet, Earth. The globe represents this; half of Australia is missing, Canada is on the right hand side of North America and Iceland is four times its actual size, just to mention a few.
This though just gives the globe more character, and with illustrations of marine monsters swimming in the oceans and big cats dominating the African continent it is easy to get lost exploring this globe for hours.
Unfortunately though the globe was starting to peel away from itself. Fortunately, this particular 17th century globe is a replica which meant, ethically, I could work on conserving it.
Really this should be the job of a conservator, but we do not have one based here and any work is outsourced to a conservator in that specialty. For example, in the past year we have had a statue and numerous paintings conserved by different freelance conservators. This is extremely important. If an object is damaged or deteriorating its preservation is paramount. It is essential that it is not able to get any worse for that could result in the destruction of the object or cause it to become a hazard. After all, these objects are collection items, they are here to be cared for, and no one wants that to become the reality more often than can be helped.
I used Paraloid B-72 (a non-yellowing, durable adhesive) and the solvent Acetone to painstakingly stick the peeling and upturned areas back in place. With a small paintbrush I mixed the two and glued the underside and then held the piece in place to allow it time to stick. I then removed any excess glue using pure Acetone to make it look clean, smooth and like new! Almost like new anyway.
Because the object is not in a case but just on the side its able to be touched by visitors, which is most likely why it started to peel. With the more fingers that touched the weak paper the more it came undone and at some point some areas of the map had been ripped away, and that is a real shame. I looked around its home location to see if these pieces were on the floor, sadly with no luck. With such detailed illustrations it worries me of what was possibly lost on these sections.
Furthermore, there was no way to find a matching image so I used as close to the map as I could find, another map to fill in the gaps, with as close colouring as I could match. These sections now are hardly noticeable, unless you know where to look. Again, this was ok as it’s a replica and part of the support collection. My aim was just to lessen the decline in quality and improve the overall appearance of the globe so it can complement the room yet again, to set the scene of Staircase House and be enjoyed once more by visitors and school groups alike.
Which, I hope, is what I have done.