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MoMu conserves: gentlemen's round-neck waistcoat, 1750 - 1770

Our restaurator Kim working on the 18th-century waistcoat
Monica Ho

MoMu is reopening its doors in September 2021. Although the museum building is closed for renovations, we still inspire at other locations with our museum collection. Following thorough conservation, an 18th-century gentlemen's waistcoat from our collection is travelling to DIVA Museum. Discover how this waistcoat was refreshed and prepared for exhibition.

STATE OF THE OBJECT

Waistcoat T13/491/G11 before conservation
Kim Verkens
Waistcoat after conservation
Kim Verkens

This item was conserved for the ‘Masterpieces in Miniature’ exhibition at DIVA. The waistcoat was in poor condition; the silver threads of the fabric were loose in several places. The side panels of the waistcoat were originally finished with a pink silk twill fabric, which was completely missing from the right-hand side of the waistcoat. It was not possible to pose the waistcoat on a bust in this state, because of the missing piece. If being mounted on a bust, the fabric would fall open without some added stability. What was clearly visible in the remaining fragment in the right-hand side of the fabric was the very bright pink colour that the fabric originally had. The remaining fabric on the left-hand side of the waistcoat is extremely discoloured and no longer as bright as it once was.

CONSERVATION PROCESS

The missing right-hand side of the waistcoat was completed with a strip of silk in twill, which was dyed to match the same faded colour on the other side of the waistcoat. The decision to dye this piece of fabric stemmed from the fact that, had it still been present, would probably have been faded as well.

  • The right-hand side of the waistcoat was missing but was completed with a strip of silk in twill.
    1/3
    Kim Verkens
  • The missing right-hand side of the waistcoat was completed with a strip of silk in twill.
    2/3
    Kim Verkens
  • This silk was dyed in a colour that matches the faded colour on the left-hand side of the waistcoat.
    3/3
    Kin Verkens

The silver threads were reattached 1 by 1 with couching stitches and silk thread. Resulting in a refreshed looking waistcoat, ready to be shown to the public again. Without this intervention, it could never have been included in the exhibition.

The silver threads were reattached 1 by 1 with couching stitches and silk thread
Kim Verkens
The silver threads were reattached 1 by 1 by means of tension stitches and silk thread
Waistcoat after conservation: The silver threads were reattached 1 by 1 by means of tension stitches and silk thread
Monica Ho

Until 15 August 2021, you can discover the restored object in the ‘Masterpieces in Miniature’ at DIVA.

Frederik Beyens
MoMu is closed for renovations, open to inspire at other locations. Read more about it.