Natalie, a conservator from the Sir Sandford Fleming Conservation program has been volunteering numerous hours this summer to conserve our anaglypta wallpaper located at the back staircase. As many of you know, we completed Part A of Stage II of the HVAC Retrofit this winter ($1.8m to date), adding central air and humidification to the Art Deco Bedroom Suite, the Art Gallery and part of the third floor. Using closet spaces and the fireplace flues to run the duct work, etc. to ensure the work did not compete with or destroy our original finishes, construction crews negotiating the stairway with fan belts, and piping contributed to some of the wear and tear the natural aging process of the anaglypta has seen over the last 94 years.
In these photos you will see Natalie applying a syringe full of adhesive to consolidate some flaking that has occurred on the anaglypta around a window frame. This damage, and areas of loss, have been sustained over the years, due to an exposure to moisture, accumulative damage simply due to opening and closing windows for approximately a century. Once the adhesive is dried, the cracks will be flattened out with the use of a heated spatula which will relax the painted surface of the anaglypta ( the pink colour). Natalie will fill the areas of loss with a home-made paste, a recipe that consists of paper fibres and methyl cellulose adhesive, creating the same texture and density of the surrounding wall paper. The walls are then cleaned with a 90 : 9 : 1 solution of water, mineral spirits and orvus paste, followed by a rinse. Once dry, Natalie will colour match to the pink walls and infill the areas that have been consolidated.