Thursday, April 29, 2010

CRM-Chinese Room Pagoda Light Fitting

The 'pagoda' light fitting was one of 18 designed by Mackintosh in 1911 for use in the Chinese Room (formerly Gentleman's Tearoom) of Miss Kate Cranston's Ingram Street Tearooms, Glasgow. It was suspended from the ceiling through voids in the lattice sub-ceiling. Beneath the wooden sections hung domed light shades, made from copper but painted green which had shapes cut out to project beams onto the pay-desk.

Chinese Room (1911) circa 1971.

The 'pagoda' is carved from Cypress & consists of 8 tiers but constructed from 4 carved sections (2 tiers each), descending in size from bottom to top. Each piece is joined to the next with long wooden screws and animal glue, and there is a hole in the middle for an electric cable to pass through.

Pagoda before treatment-overpainted with missing pieces

Underneath there is an inverted dome so it could sit on the curved metal light shade. The upper faces are painted in an off-white oil-medium, the edges are painted green, and the undersides are painted dark red. The original '4-legged' accessory that should sit on top of the structure is missing, but a replacement has been carved previously.

Separated into component parts for treatment

The whole piece is covered with layer of greasy dirt, especially on the recessed bottom where it has a craquelure effect (perhaps due to direct heat contact). Some of the protruding edges have broken of (mostly lost), and reveal the original colour scheme & timber substrate.

Reassembled after replacement of missing areas

After separating into component parts splits & detached pieces were re-adhered with PVA & clamped. Broken edge planed flat whilst removing minimal of original to allow a good fit with new timber & more stable structure. Piece of cherry wood (good alternative) were cut & spliced to broken edges, adhering with PVA under clamps. New timber was carved to match original curved edges, using extant areas as reference. Before final cuts& sanding etc, the structure was reassembled dry to check the shapes in relation to on another.

Underside view-during cleaning

Component parts re-adhered using animal glue (same as original) & original screw reinstated. After cleaning tests ethanol on cotton swabs was used to remove greasy dirt from all surfaces.

During repainting & attachment of new top decoration

After concluding the original color scheme, acrylic paints were mixed and applied over all of the upper surfaces, using underlying areas and other fittings from the set as reference. Underneath surfaces were not repainted as considered to be original, but new carving painted to match.

After restoration treatment