Wooden Lacquered Bellows

PROJECT DATE : 2020
project
Wooden Lacquered Bellows
client
Eryldene Trust
services
Objects Conservation

Overview

This pair of lacquered fire bellows come from the EG Waterhouse Garden Study at Eryldene. The bellows comprise of a pair of wooden boards with handles, joined by flexible leather sides which expand and contract to draw in air through a leather valve.  Air is then forced out through a metal tube.

These fireplace bellows have been decorated with a red lacquer scene of a woman and boy playing in front of a rural scene and a flowering tree. Although the scene is oriental, it is English lacquer imitating Chinese lacquer, supplied for the mass market.  The English lacquer method was much faster and used shellac rather than tree resin. The bellows have an internal cane structure and external iron fittings.

Condition

The bellows were in very poor condition, with the leather suffering from red rot. The leatherwork was completely disintegrated and lost, the cane internal support was broken, the lacquer work was dull and flaking, and the iron spout was corroding. Active woodworm was present.

Treatment

  • Freezing to kill the woodworm
  • Removal of brass tacks
  • New leather bellow cut and fitted using existing tacks
  • Consolidated and cleaned lacquer
  • Inpainted losses
  • Treated corroding spout with rusticide

project
Wooden Lacquered Bellows
client
Eryldene Trust
services
Objects Conservation
Before Treatment
After Treatment

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