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  • New Technologies for Restoration: The Meissen fountain project

Brown, Steve R, 2013, Conference or Workshop, New Technologies for Restoration: The Meissen fountain project at Making Futures III, Plymouth College of Art, 26–27 September 2013.

Abstract or Description:

Brown delivered the paper ‘New technologies for restoration: The Meissen fountain project’ at ‘Making Futures 3’, a conference hosted by Plymouth College of Art in September 2013. Brown describes the restoration of a historically significant porcelain table fountain made during the mid-18th century at the Meissen factory. The fountain, acquired by the V&A Museum in 1870, has 11 missing elements, which Brown and Professor Martin Smith (RCA) are in the process of recreating with support from members of the V&A conservation team (2012–14). The reconstructed fountain will be displayed in the V&A’s ‘New Europe 1600–1800’ galleries in 2014.
The original fountain was hand-modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler (1706–75), Meissen’s chief modeller and a highly regarded figure in the history of porcelain manufacture in Europe. The museum’s staff decided that Kaendler’s authorship would be best acknowledged by using porcelain for the reconstructed elements. Whilst the material was to be closely duplicated, the processes of production were not: the extant elements were hand-modelled, whereas Brown employed 3D scanning and printing technologies to create accurately fitting positive shapes to replace the missing pieces.
In this paper, Brown explores practical and theoretical issues raised by the project, in particular those presented by the deployment of new technologies in relation to the concept of authenticity in replication. Brown shows that 3D scanning and printing offer museums new possibilities for conservation but also bring new dilemmas that have to be addressed. By considering how these come into focus in a ‘live’ and innovative project and identifying how they disrupt conventional restoration practices and approaches, Brown offers a distinctive contribution to current debates on authenticity, the notion of the original artwork and the values of craft practice in the wider sense.

Subjects: Other > Technologies > J300 Ceramics and Glasses
School or Centre: School of Material
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2013 15:36
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2013 12:51
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1439

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