By Sophie Harris
As part of my postgraduate diploma work it is my job to project manage the metal components of an inter-departmental collaboration between furniture, metals and a contracted horologist, Jonathon Kelly. The object it is the pedestal organ clock by George Pyke, of London, that you've already seen in Jonathon's posts. I will be specifically working on the ormolu (gilded copper alloy) and metal mounts; this will involve a numbering system and careful cleaning tests to see what can and should be achieved.
Wear, dirt and successive treatments from different periods over time, have oxidized and corroded the substrate copper alloy mounts, leading to discoloration.
Some components appear to be missing, as there are holes in the wooden frame, and others have missing pins and screws; this has caused movement of the parts and wear to the wood behind.
Preferential corrosion has badly affected all metal mounts; the current protective coating is unknown. Both top and bottom carcasses of the ebonized wooden case appear to have a variety of different fittings as seen by their different colour, wear and decorative coatings.
A fine example of this discoloration is the two side panels, each in two parts and visibly different. XRF analysis will be necessary on multiple components to see the metallic composition of the alloys used, and also to check for the presence of gold plating.
All mounts on the base of the lower carcass have a thick oxide and buildup of cleaning compounds and dirt.
Further condition checking is necessary and further analysis of each component will be carried out once disassembled.
Now let the work commence…. watch this space for further metal goodness.