Installation of the work on new stretcher
In glass and frame
Works of art with delicate layers of colour including pastels, charcoal, chalk or pencil are best protected behind glass in a frame. This helps avoid direct contact with the surface, which is one of the technicians biggest enemies in preservation of the colour layer. To frame the work, it was necessary to mount it onto a stretcher that is adapted to the selected frame - in the case of Queen Juliane Marie portrait there was hope that the existing frame could be reused.
... click on arrows in image carousel below to see illustrations for the following explanation of the work's treatment.
1: The existing stretcher was old and broken, so the carpenter at SMK fabricated a new one. To provide additional support for the work, a buffer of cardboard was glued into the frame's top edge. This will provide additional support and also absorb moisture and any harmful acids degassed from the wood and its environment.
2: The working frame with the artwork is placed on top of the stretcher with buffer cardboard.
3-4: Thumbtacks are loosened one by one and the canvas strips are brought down and fastened to the underlying stretcher.
5: This is repeated for all the strips, and the thumbtacks are reused for attaching the strips to the stretcher.
Without using a hammer
Since pastel is a very fragile material and will not tolerate any kind of shock, we had to push in the pins attaching the canvas and parchment to the stretcher very gently. Normally artworks on a stretcher are fastened with nails, which are hammered in, or staples. These methods were not appropriate in this case, since it would inevitably lead to unnecessary shock and vibration. Instead, we used a specially designed pincers, which is good for just this purpose, as you can press the drawing pins into the stretcher rather than hammering them in.
6-7: The linen strips are cut.
8: The painting is now leveled and assembled again on the stretcher with supporting cardboard.
9: View of the reverse, with cardboard auxiliary support and buffer and cut canvas strips.