People love to know where they come from. Online family mapping services have become popular in the past few years, used primarily to create “family trees,” a common way to trace genealogical lineage. Historians have traced the “tree” image back to a medieval piece illustrating the Tree of Jesse, used to map the genealogy of Christ. Chinese philosopher Confucius has the longest family tree in the world, more than 80 generations and including over 2 million members. Tracing lineage is emotionally and practically important for any family, so when we received a family tree in for treatment at The Center, we knew how special this would be for the family.
As summer rolls on, we’re heading closer to “storm season,” the part of the year where several regions of the country are more susceptible to natural disasters. For the next few months, we’ll be walking you through how to make a plan for these kinds of situations, to protect any assets and collections you might have in your home or work.
At The Conservation Center, we love hearing the stories our clients share about their artworks, and learning more about family histories. This was certainly true in the case of a portrait that was recently treated by our Painting Department. The sitter in the portrait is Marshall Field II, and the piece was brought to us for conservation treatment by his great-grandson, Marshall Field V.
Einstein’s book and photograph came to us from a client looking to preserve and display them permanently. Fresh from a sale at Christie’s, Einstein at 50, a signed photograph, and The Meaning of Relativity: Authorial Presentation Copy, inscribed, were incredible finds, both historical and scarce. The result of their treatment is a beautiful shadowbox displaying them on either side of a digital reproduction of the title page of the book, creating a visual story.
Some of our favorite projects are ones rich in family history, like a violin our Furniture and Objects Department just finished working on this month. The violin, made by our client’s father, is a 1/4 size student instrument from Mittenwald, Germany, made between 1920 and 1930. The top is Sitka Spruce the neck ribs and back are of flamed maple.
Making sure that artworks live on for generations to come is among of our top priorities here at The Center. In many cases, achieving that means various departments have to play a part in ensuring that treatments go smoothly, and pieces are properly cared for throughout the conservation process. This is certainly true of a Japanese temple figure that recently came to the lab for treatment.