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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: 19th Century Cup and Saucer

by Conservation


ceramics conservation , objects conservation , porcelain , capillary action , behind the scenes , cup , saucer

This small 19th C cup and saucer have been in the lab awaiting treatment from our objects conservator. This set is made of porcelain with very thin, translucent walls and a gilt fruit and vine design. The fragile porcelain cup had broken into several fragments. Luckily, the breaks were very clean and all of the edges lined up with minimal loss along the joins. For the repair, the piece was first taped together using tiny pieces of tape cut into 2 x 3 millimeter lengths.

The conservation adhesive was applied with a pin needle in very small droplets to the joined up edges on the interior of the cup. The adhesive droplets were drawn into the join edge through capillary action to create a seamless repair.  The cup and saucer won’t ever be sipped from again, of course, but this conservation treatment will allow the beautiful set to be exhibited in future.


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