Ooooh… Shiny!—Polishing Intricate Metalwork overview image

Ooooh… Shiny!—Polishing Intricate Metalwork

  • Post Date3/10/2017
  • AuthorGavin Robinson
  • Reading Time2 minute read

Medieval Irish Masterpieces in Modern Reproduction, which has been up since September of last year, highlights some of Spurlock’s most intricate and visually stunning pieces. However, these artifacts were not always so eye-catching. In fact, it took Collection’s Manager Christa Deacy-Quinn along with volunteer Dr. Kati Fay many hours to restore them to their former glory.

Much of the collection had suffered from significant surface tarnishing as well as accumulated polish residue from previous cleaning. After identifying the least invasive polishing technique, our Collections team began the tedious process of removing all residue and surface corrosion from each individual artifact. Finally, Christa and Kati applied a thin layer of wax to prevent further tarnishing from occurring while on display. The results were quite dramatic!

  • corrosion removed from left half only of Shrine of St. Patrick’s Gospels
    Image showing corrosion removed from left half only of Shrine of St. Patrick’s Gospels
  • Macro shot showing buildup of old polish in grooves of a brooch
    Macro shot showing buildup of old polish in grooves of a brooch
  • Close up of the same brooch after cleaning and polishing
    Close up of the same brooch after cleaning and polishing
  • Leftover adhesive residue from a sticky label being removed from the Celtic Adragh Chalice
    Leftover adhesive residue from a sticky label being removed from the Celtic Adragh Chalice
  • Chalice after polishing and removal of adhesive residue
    Chalice after polishing and removal of adhesive residue
  • Dr. Kati Fay cleaning and polishing the Cross of Cong replica
    Dr. Kati Fay cleaning and polishing the Cross of Cong replica
  • Volunteer Jen Grove meticulously aligning the oars of the Broighter Boat model for display
    Volunteer Jen Grove meticulously aligning the oars of the Broighter Boat model for display

Want to see this exhibit first hand? You’re in luck! Medieval Irish Masterpieces in Modern Reproduction is open through April 2nd.