This concludes the two-part series on our Joseph Dufour wallpaper restoration project. For the first part, please see our previous post.
We left off at the beginning of the restoration process. All the wallpaper would have to be re-adhered to the wall before we could repair the cosmetic damage. We did this using patience, hypodermic needles, archival paste, patience, tacking irons, burnishers, ladders, patience, and patience. The gluing process took up about half of the time allotted for the whole project. It was grueling and unrewarding, with a lot of labor and only the subtlest visual improvement. Much of it took place on ladders, in hot weather, and of course we were geared up in respirators, latex gloves, and long sleeves to protect from hazardous paint dust.
After 57 hours of gluing and ironing, ironing and gluing, it was restoration time. Our main adversaries were the water stains, visible mostly in the sky, but also in the water area. If there was any time left after fixing these, we’d devote it to repairing some of the other age-related damage, mostly just chips, crackling, and holes.
One big element to consider was the previous restoration. The more we got to know this wallpaper, the more previous restoration we noticed. The entire sky had been painted over at some point. We knew this not only from visual evidence like drips, large brushstrokes, and pale halo-ing around the trees and horizon area, but also from online photos of other examples of the same wallpaper. The original sky should be a pale vibrant blue rather than grey, and it should have clouds in it.
Since it was not in our budget to remove the previous restoration, we’d just have to restore over it. Rather than try to achieve the look of the original wallpaper, we worked with what we had and just tried to make all the damage less noticeable.
Here is what the restoration process looked like:
And now for the before and afters.
I will leave you with a photo of a dear friend we made during this project. Mugsy we will never forget you, though you forgot us every day.