Conservation of the memorial wreath of the Harju-Risti monument to the War for Independence

Autor: 
Heige Peets
Number: 
Anno 2015
Rubriik: 
Conservation
TrükiPDF
ill 1. The reinforced tin tub found in the attic of the Risti church contained a rusty memorial wreath.

ill 1. The reinforced tin tub found in the attic of the Risti church contained a rusty memorial wreath.

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ill 2. The ring of the wreath had a ribbon inscribed “To the fallen heroes of Risti from the Ministry of War”.

ill 2. The ring of the wreath had a ribbon inscribed “To the fallen heroes of Risti from the Ministry of War”. 

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ill 3. The Harju-Risti monument to the War for Independence together with its memorial wreath.  ERM Fk 2813:56.

ill 3. The Harju-Risti monument to the War for Independence together with its memorial wreath.  ERM Fk 2813:56.

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ill 4. The wreath before conservation.

ill 4. The wreath before conservation.

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ill 5. Rust on the backs of the leaves.

ill 5. Rust on the backs of the leaves.

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ill 6. Rust under the paint of  flower details.

ill 6. Rust under the paint of  flower details.

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ill 7. Covering paint that was cracked and loose.

ill 7. Covering paint that was cracked and loose.

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ill 8. The damaged structure of the cotton weft of the ribboni.

ill 8. The damaged structure of the cotton weft of the ribbon.

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ill 9. The silk of the ribbon was fragmentary and the blue colour had preserved only inside the folds.

ill 9. The silk of the ribbon was fragmentary and the blue colour had preserved only inside the folds.

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ill 10. The reverse side of the wreath. The corroded surfaces were cleansed mechanically with a mini-drill.

ill 10. The reverse side of the wreath. The corroded surfaces were cleansed mechanically with a mini-drill.

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ill 11. Rust-free surfaces were processed with acetone and covered with varnish.

ill 11. Rust-free surfaces were processed with acetone and covered with varnish.

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ill 12. The loose parts of covering paint on the flowers were mechanically removed.

ill 12. The loose parts of covering paint on the flowers were mechanically removed.

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ill 13. The paint losses on the flowers were toned to unify the visual whole.

ill 13. The paint losses on the flowers were toned to unify the visual whole.

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ill 14. The white fabric of the ribbon bore a (blue) silk stripe. Damaged details. Macro photo.

ill 14. The white fabric of the ribbon bore a (blue) silk stripe. Damaged details. Macro photo.

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ill 15. The ribbon was cleansed with the so-called static brush.

ill 15. The ribbon was cleansed with the so-called static brush.

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ill 16. As the silk was fragile all the procedures were carried out with the text on top.

ill 16. As the silk was fragile all the procedures were carried out with the text on top.

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ill 17. The cleansed and stretched ribbon was placed onto the vacuum-table and glued with BEVA film on Hollytex fabric.

ill 17. The cleansed and stretched ribbon was placed onto the vacuum-table and glued with BEVA film on Hollytex fabric.

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ill 18. Thermal processing was carried out on a heated plate. The ribbon was kept on the plate in a light press for about three hours.

ill 18. Thermal processing was carried out on a heated plate. The ribbon was kept on the plate in a light press for about three hours.

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ill 19. Backing the white fabric restored the ribbon as a whole. The conservation of the silk needed additional treatment.

ill 19. Backing the white fabric restored the ribbon as a whole. The conservation of the silk needed additional treatment. 

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ill 20. The netting used for covering the silk was glued on Teflon fabric.

ill 20. The netting used for covering the silk was glued on Teflon fabric.

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ill 21. The glue should not cover the meshes of the netting or lay unevenly on it. Macro photo.

ill 21. The glue should not cover the meshes of the netting or lay unevenly on it. Macro photo.

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ill 22. Glued netting. The glue covers only the threads of it. Macro photo.

ill 22. Glued netting. The glue covers only the threads of it. Macro photo.

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ill 23. Glued netting on the ribbon of the wreath. Macro photo.

ill 23. Glued netting on the ribbon of the wreath. Macro photo.

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ill 24. Thermal processing with a heated spatula. The whole surface of the ribbon was covered with netting to warrant its free hanging when displayed.

ill 24. Thermal processing with a heated spatula. The whole surface of the ribbon was covered with netting to warrant its free hanging when displayed.

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ill 25. The conserved wreath was returned to the Risti church in June 2014 when 90 years had passed from the unveiling of the monument to the War for Independence.

ill 25. The conserved wreath was returned to the Risti church in June 2014 when 90 years had passed from the unveiling of the monument to the War for Independence.

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ill 26. Setting up the wreath on the wall of the vestibule of the Risti church.

ill 26. Setting up the wreath on the wall of the vestibule of the Risti church.

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ill 27. The wreath in its protective tub was fixed on the wall together with the original wooden cross.

ill 27. The wreath in its protective tub was fixed on the wall together with the original wooden cross.

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ill 28. The tub was covered with glass. The wreath is visible to everyone who enters the church.

ill 28. The tub was covered with glass. The wreath is visible to everyone who enters the church.

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When members of the parish church in Harju-Risti were clearing off the attic of the church in 2010, they found a tin tub. At first it seemed to be a usual junk item that had been stored in the attic but at closer inspection in the yard a rusty metal memorial wreath with a ribbon was discovered in it.

One of the only four untouched monuments to the War for Independence is in the Risti churchyard and it remained there throughout the Soviet period. The monument made by a local master was made of the so-called Vasalemma marble and unveiled on 29 June 1924. Obviously the War Ministry of the Republic of Estonia presented the wreath just on this occasion.

The wreath is quite unique, as no other of its kind has survived. It is possible that they simply disintegrated but may have been destroyed in the 1940s up to 1950s, together with the monuments to the War for Independence. The Risti wreath must have been hidden when dangerous days started.

Description of the wreath’s condition before conservation

The construction of the wreath was whole. Maple leaves made of reinforced tin had been tied onto an oval of thick wire in bunches of five and form the bushy backdrop for the wreath. In addition to these bunches twigs with birch- and laurel leaves and various flowers (callas, lilies, roses and ‘white’ hepaticas) complemented the composition.

The reinforced tin tub was rusty and the glass cover had two panes missing. The green paint on the leaves had preserved well and some bigger corrosion spots were visible only on their backs. The paint on flowers had cracked and was loose.

A 17-cm-wide ribbon in national colours had been attached to the wreath. The silk of the ribbon bore an inscription in black India ink, “To the fallen heroes of Risti from the Ministry of War”. The cotton part of the ribbon was stained, torn and rust-spotted. The silk had faded and its original blue was seen only inside the folds.

Conservation

The Risti parish wanted the wreath to be conserved so that it could be displayed permanently in the church. The ring, leaves and flowers were cleansed of rust. The loose paint was removed from the flowers and the losses were toned to unify the visual whole.

The restoration of the ribbon of the wreath was most complicated. Needle and thread were no good for fixing the damaged cotton fabric and stiff silk. The conservation required processing that would warrant the ribbon hanging freely when displayed. The ribbon was cleansed of dust with a static brush. The cotton part of the ribbon was backed with polyester veil Hollytex (32 g/square cm). The original and backing were stuck together with BEVA glue on a vacuum-table. For fixing the silk we decided to cover it with glued netting. The glue was a mixture of thermoplastic acrylics Lascaux 360:498:water (1:1:5). The conserved wreath was returned to the Risti church in June 2014 when 90 years had passed from the unveiling of the monument to the War for Independence.

The wreath was conserved by Heige Peets (metal and ribbon), Helmut Välja (the surrounding tub), Ingrid Pihelgas, Johanna Laidma (colouring), the woodwork and installation were completed by Viljar Talimaa and Tiit Hindpere.

Kasutatud materjalid: 

EDTA (Mediq Eesti OÜ)

Tanniin (www.Kremer-pigmente.de)

MAIMERI® värvid (ready mode colors, www.kremer-pigmente.de)

Lakk – Lefrance & Bourgeois, Prantsusmaa (maaletooja Eesti)

Lascaux Acrylic Adhesive 360 HV, 498 HV (www.kremer-pigmente.ee)

BEVA 371-film (www.kremer-pigmente.ee)

Hollytex (PEL, www.preservationequipmqnt.com)

Võrkriie – monofiliament, Dukeries Textiles & Fancy Goods LTD.

Viited: 

  1. Kultuurimälestiste riiklik register. 8301 Vabadussõja mälestussammas  http://register.muinas.ee/public.php?menuID=monument&action=view&id=8301
  2. Eesti Muuseumide Veebivärav. Eesti Rahva Muuseum, ERM Fk 2813:56 http://www.muis.ee/portaal/museaalview/541509
  3. Kes mäletab Risti Vabadusõja samba pärja lugu? – Padise Teataja (mai 2013) http://padiseteataja.ee/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/padise_teataja_mai_web.pdf