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Replication of historic art objects
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:31 pm    Post subject: Replication of historic art objects Reply with quote

Today's PBS NewsHour will include a segment on this topic during the second half-hour of the program, which should be available to most radio and TV audiences at some point this evening, or online.

The segment will apparently view the skilled recreation of damaged and destroyed artifacts in war-torn parts of the globe -- but it might have resonance for those interested in historic preservation more broadly . . .

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/high-tech-replicas-can-help-save-cultural-heritage/

SDR


Last edited by SDR on Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another term for the process/result: facsimile.


S
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SREcklund



Joined: 26 Feb 2013
Posts: 611
Location: Redondo Beach, CA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting concept, but a slippery slope. We recently had the chance to add a high-quality reproduction of a Roman bas relief once owned by Aline Barnsdall to the contents of Hollyhock House, installing it where it once stood in the 1920s. In this context, it adds to the experience. Once scanned, however, one could make a dozen or a hundred copies, for traveling road shows or sale or whatever. That would not be so good.

I saw the PBS piece, and what they're doing seems to be more along the lines of what we did with the Roman piece on Olive Hill.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7487

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the 1970s, the venerable Woolworth Tower by Cass Gilbert needed restoration of terra cotta on its exterior. Since the view of the top of the building is seen only from far below (in those days there were no drones), instead of replicating the damaged terra cotta at the peak, they fabricated duplicates out of aluminum colored to look like terra cotta.

The top 30 floors of the tower have been converted into 40 luxury condos, and the penthouse into a 5-story unit. I wonder if the owner bit the bullet and restored the original terra cotta tiles to please prospective tenants, who will pay premium prices for the units? The 31st floor, which includes two terraces, is on the market for $26.4M; I doubt any buyer would want phony terra cotta panels.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh. On the other hand, who wouldn't want sculpted aluminum decor to their sky-terrace ? As long as it wasn't crudely accomplished, it sounds like win-win to me. Was the aluminum powder-coated to the correct color(s) ?

Doesn't look too bad in the photos: http://thewoolworthtower.com

If something lost is to be replicated in material, there are endless choices; the bottom line is that some material or combination of materials must be chosen. First choice would presumably be the original kind of material -- but material is only the medium through which the designer speaks, nothing more. The romance of craft is a separate thing from the realization of form, though the one often -- in the past, at least -- implied the other. Craft is a worthy subject in its own right, but (I believe) it has always been the handmaiden of design, and not an end in itself. Makers, in days of yore, acknowledged and accepted this reality; many still do. The means of production have now expanded; different sorts of knowledge, skill, and tooling are called into play for the economical realization of design. As old skills are lost, substitutions are to be expected. Those who can afford the old ways may have them, if they choose.

I don't think owners of historic one-of-a-kind objects need to worry about full-sized replicas flooding the market. There has always been a market for look-alike repros, often at miniature scale and readily available in museum shops; cruder objects are sold by the road at historic sites. The art forgery business is one closely monitored by owners and legal authorities, with stiff penalties for transgression. It is neither cheap nor easy to accomplish what is seen in the PBS documentary -- and the objects created are not identical to the originals, in method or material.

SDR
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2006
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/ph-ac-cn-door-color-revolutionary-change-0614-20170613-story.html


The exterior finish carpentry of the Harwood Hammond House in Annapolis has been brilliant white for as long as I've know it.
It's now being restored to newly discovered original colors:
"buttercream and faux mahogany."
The restoration is complete and I saw it today.
I think now we know why it was painted white in the first place.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Betsey Greene has it almost right, with her impressive faux painting (assuming that this is in fact the correct restoration); the little mistake is in treating the bevels of the raised panels (their faces actually flush with the surrounding frames, as is typical) as if they were separate pieces of wood, when in fact the grain should flow across the face of the panel and down the bevels at each side (or top and bottom, if the grain of the panel runs vertically).





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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2006
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd never have caught this myself.
SDR's eye for detail strikes again!

The article states that white paint was not available in the 18th century.
Does this mean that Monticello and University of Virginia were all originally
painted "buttercream" ?
Makes me gag.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The new conditions of "America's Most Beautiful Door"
has all the charm of a fully loaded chamber pot.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, the claim is made that the doors were originally faux-painted ? It could be mentioned that certain antique furniture pieces have appeared from time
to time, on the Roadshow telecasts for instance, sporting faux wood grain . . .

I wish I could identify for sure the base material which appears, mostly naked (?), in the pale-yellow-green photos of the doors. The texture might
be oak, but the lack of variety in the grain across each piece negates that idea. It looks like the rough-sanded cottonwood lumber which I saw at a
local building-materials outlet, more than twenty years ago, presented as a trial balloon. It apparently did not catch on, despite an attractive price;
makers are wary of unknown species, not without cause. For instance:


Ten or eleven years ago, as one of my first retirement projects, I drew and made a pair of garage doors. Not having a wide planer and long jointer (or
many other heavy tools) at hand, I chose surfaced (S4S) poplar. I was aware that this isn't an exterior material in any normal practice -- but the
doors were to be painted, and I thought "What the heck." It was inexpensive and "ready-to-use."

I found out what its shortcomings consisted of: After being hung and painted, the doors started growing. I eventually planed more than a quarter
inch total off the meeting stiles of the doors. The hefty lap joints at all intersections, easily made by virtue of the double thickness of the frame
members, moved as much as they could -- trying to resemble potato chips -- under the constraints of being fully glued with polyurethane adhesive.

But the doors stayed flat, due to the balancing act inherent in a symmetrical disposition of right- and left-hand lap joints -- and they would probably still
be in place if the house hadn't changed hands, with a restaurant inserted into the former ground-floor garage space . . .






Temporary clamping. The doors were assembled within the opening, which was not at all square . . .







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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1336
Location: Burlington, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did the rest of the house ever get painted to do the doors justice?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh -- yes, though not very imaginatively. I had a few suggestions; there are some nice warm/cool color schemes seen in the neighborhood. The
house is owned now by its long-time principal inhabitant, an association offering social space and meeting rooms for recovering substance abusers.
It's in the Castro (District) in our fair city. It's called the Castro Country Club, because once upon a time there was a sort-of miniature golf setup in
the back . . . I'm told.

A neighbor in my building was the manager of this affair; he appealed to me for a pair of "carriage doors," which afforded me my first independent
workshop, in the basement. SF's smallest and messiest cabinet shop. I did some interesting things there, including the first of two "smokers' benches"
on the sidewalk; you can see it in the last photo. I made this little bathroom vanity cabinet there -- somehow.







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JChoate



Joined: 04 Feb 2016
Posts: 707
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That cabinet is a great piece of work.
I wouldn't mind seeing what it looked like with a light inside it.
Nice.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14322
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh-heh. The idea arose when I thought of the dampness (and/or damp items) that might appear inside such a cabinet -- anticipating possible
negligent maintenance or use. A "basket" was the resulting idea. (Maybe I had the Usonian Automatic in the back of my head; I've sketched "basket
houses" at various points.)

The pierced and pieced shell wanted an interior box, for structural reasons, so the side panels are more decorative than functional. (Yes, how quickly
we fall from the Idealist tree.) But I think it came out well. A major attribute of the appearance turned out to be the horizontal reveal between
shell and top . . .

The material is maple, available locally as S4S 1 x 4 lengths, saving your correspondent some effort and reflecting a "what can you make with a board ?"
philosophy. The faces were sanded following the photography below, and coated with polyurethane after assembly.






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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3164
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love that vanity cabinet! I like the idea of lighting it from within too...a great night light.
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