Wednesday, July 24, 2019

James Wilson 1828 globe part 2 Before and after

     This is part 2 of a 3 part series chronicling the acquisition and restoration of a rare James Wilson terrestrial globe of 1828.  
      In my last post I talked a bit about finding this globe, for this post I will talk about the amazing before and after restoration.   In the final post I'll go in depth with the process of the globes restoration.
      I took a  series of photographs in my first blog post, I will in this post recreate those exact photos but with the newly restored globe.

1828 Wilson globe, before
1828 Wilson globe, after

In this 1st set of photographs it's obvious the transformation this globe underwent.  Nearly 200 years of dust, and environmental contaminants were removed to reveal the original map surface underneath.   The brass pieces were polished, but they were purposefully not brought up to a gleaming shine, which would not have fit the character of the globe.

North America before

North America after

     This second set of photos I have highlighted the North American continent.    Here you can also see the cleaning that was done to the horizon band.   The globe was nearly illegible under so much dirt, grime and discoloring,  but much of that grime sat on and in the old varnish layer on the globe. This old varnish protected the map surface underneath.  It did it's job incredibly well.   I should note that all of the color in the " after" photographs is completely original to the globe.  There was no addition of color during the conservation process.    In my mind unless the globe is damaged it is better to take a less is more approach to any restoration process.   I suppose I could have asked for the map surface to be re colored, or the horizon ring to be brightened further with pigments etc,  but at what point do you go from uncovering the past to re creating the past?    I wanted this globe to be true to itself,  it's 190 years old,  it's not going to look new,  nor should it.   With that said this globe was fortunate in that it was basically just very dirty.   There were no missing parts, holes, or such to deal with.
globe and stand, after

globe and stand, before

  This next set of photographs shows another view of the map surface and the stand.  The wooden pieces on this globe underwent  no restoration of the finish,  the original finish remains.  The only thing I might do to the finish is apply a coating of high grade furniture wax. Beeswax would have been available throughout this globe's life and I think that would be appropriate in this case.

cartouche before

cartouche after

      Finally I wanted to provide a before and after photo of the globe's cartouche.  Certainly it was legible before restoration, but the difference is dramatic in the after shot.          I've been collecting for q while now,  almost 15 years and this is the first globe that I have undertaken to have professionally restored.  I think the conservation and restoration process is a mystery to most people.  It is a service that most people will go their whole lives never using, be it for a globe, books, maps or other paper items.  In part 3 of this 3 post wonder, I want to pull the Curtain back on this globes restoration  with some mid restoration photographs.  I will also get into what I feel to be important questions to ask when it comes to having a restoration like this done.  

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