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CURRENT COLUMN

Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)


Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)


Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Structural
Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural
Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Digital
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Photos
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

Butterfly
A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events


Conservation Corner Back

E.J. Hughes, Captain Malaspina Sketching the Galleries of Gabriola

E.J. Hughes, Captain Malaspina Sketching the Galleries of Gabriola, mural project completed; location: Nanaimo Conference Centre.

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

by Cheryle Harrison
conserv1@telus.net

In 1938, Edward J. Hughes stood before a plastered wall and painted a panoramic scene of explorers examining the shoreline sandstone galleries of Gabriola Island. Years passed and the mural was covered with panelling, hidden from view, and generally forgotten. Eventually redevelopment plans for the Malaspina Hotel, Nanaimo, B.C., included the partial demolition and salvaging of most of the buildings structure. It was during this period that Hughes mural and four other murals were re-discovered.

In 1996, the murals were removed from the hotel and stored in a number of locations for a period of twelve years. Again, it seemed that Hughes painting would be lost to anonymity, as no new display site for this large mural could be found. Eventually in the fall of 2007, the future of this mural was redeemed, and its new location was slated for the recently constructed Nanaimo Conference Centre.

The conservation treatment stage of this project commenced only to find that the murals structure had been damaged and weakened significantly by the conditions of its long-term storage. Consequently, the initially anticipated four-month conservation and installation project extended to encompass more than one-and-a-half years. The mural measures 2.75 5.2 .216 metres (9 x 17 0.71 feet), and it is painted on a concrete wall weighing approximately eight tons. The design for the installation of this mural includes a support base and framework which integrates the mural as a part of the conference building.

The public dedication of E.J. Hughes mural, Captain Malaspina Sketching the Galleries of Gabriola, was celebrated in June 2009. Complimentary events included the screening of a documentary, educational programming, and the launching of a gallery book on Hughes that accompanied a summer long exhibition of his artwork.

The saga of the Malaspina Hotel Murals can offer insight into the fragile presence and future of our cultural heritage, as the Hughes mural project could have disappeared numerable times over the past thirteen years. This successful heritage project was possible due to the efforts and dedication of many individuals, illustrating that we are all guardians of our history. At the core of this cultural project is the artist himself, Edward Hughes, truly a source of enduring inspiration.

A book by Conserv-Arte is underway relating the tale of the E.J. Hughes Mural Conservation Project and the Malaspina Murals.

Previously: Old and new methods of cleaning paintings
Next issue: A project completed and heritage preserved

Conservator C. Harrison

Conservator C. Harrison carrying out final work on a section of the mural; completed sections are displayed in the background.

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 Thu, Nov 5, 2009