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Mural Projects

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Philosophy, 1896, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
One of nine monumental canvasses commissioned for the Library's grand staircase, Philosophy was shipped from Puvis' Paris studio to America in 1896. It was adhered to the plaster wall with a lead white in linseed oil adhesive but over the years, water infiltration resulted in detachment of 80% of the canvas from the wall. In 2016, a major conservation campaign was undertaken to avert catastrophic damage. The mural was stabilized, faced and safely removed from the wall. Following extensive treatment, the painting was mounted onto a rigid panel support and successfully reinstalled into its niche.
2017 - Preservation Achievement Award - Boston Preservation Alliance
Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Murals of Venice & Byzantium, 1889-90, Ames Webster Mansion, Boston, MA
Benjamin-Constant's murals are composed of two tiers of images installed at the upper reaches of an immense staircase just below a skylight adorned with stained glass by John La Farge. In the lower tier, a procession of Venetian figures (pictured here) is depicted and in the cove ceiling above them, four Byzantine rulers look down at the viewer. The murals were obscured by a heavy layer of dust and a badly yellowed natural resin varnish coating. During the 2017 conservation treatment, the murals were surface cleaned, the old varnish removed then re-varnished with a stable, non yellowing, synthetic varnish layer. (Photo credit: David Mathews)
Giuseppe Guidicini, Reception Room Decorations, 1860, Victoria Mansion, Portland, ME
Guidicin's opulent decoration of the Reception Room constitutes some of the finest decoration dating from antebellum America. Executed in emulsion paint with rich accents of gold leaf directly on the plaster walls and ceiling, the artist and his assistants drew their inspiration from various classical motifs using an extraordinary range of painting techniques. In 2017-18, the studio undertook the conservation and restoration of the murals which included paint stabilization, dry cleaning to remove over 150 years of soot and grime, retouching of minor losses and abrasions and the replication of the badly water damaged ceiling decoration in the bay window.
Arthur Esner, Industry in New Hampshire and George Lloyd, Farming in New Hampshire, 1940, Hamilton Smith Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH
Esner's and Lloyd's Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals, each measuring 8 feet high by 40 feet in length, are painted with pigments bound in an egg medium directly over plaster walls. The thin, translucent brush strokes applied by the artists emulate the appearance of true fresco painting. Considerable plaster and water damage marred the murals and during renovation of the building in 2017, the plaster walls were first stabilized by John Canning Studios. The Studio then then re-adhered friable pigments to the plaster substrate, surface cleaned the murals and retouched and restored significant paint losses with the aid of archival images.
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John La Farge, Murals in the Central Tower, 1876-77, Trinity Church, Boston, MA
La Farge decorated the enormous interior of the church during the winter months of 1876-77 with a group of artists including Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Francis Millet. The plaster and wood surfaces are painted in encaustic (pigments in wax), distemper paint and gold leaf. In 2004-05, in collaboration with John Canning Studios, a nine-month conservation campaign was undertaken in the central tower, whose ceiling rises 105 feet above the floor the church floor. The original mural and decorative paint surfaces were stabilized, surface cleaned to remove dust and grime and background color fields, incorrectly over-painted in a previous restoration, reinstated to their original color.
2006 -  National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award


Conservation & Restoration of Paintings & Murals

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