Conservation – bowed string instruments

Poch head side durng 1 c2Poch head side during c3Poch head back after

One of a number of challenging and fascinating conservation treatments I carried out for the Basel Historical Museum was the pegbox and head of this decorated pochette. The head of the instrument was only just attached to the pegbox, held by a sliver of veneer; parts of the pegbox wall behind the veneer were missing. Some decorative inlays were also missing. Handling of the instrument or any turning of the peg were a problem, and it looked a mess.

I reconstructed sections of peg box wall, and spiral bushed the peg holes across the original and new material, to strengthen the fragile walls, and fit the holes to the original peg. I shaped pieces of ebony veneer to surface the reconstructed sections. Where decorative mother of pearl inlays were missing I shaped tiny pieces of similar looking material from shirt buttons and filled voids with a reversible hide glue and black pigment mastic.

I’ve documented, carried out condition assessments and conservation treatments of violin family instruments, viola d’amore, viols, other string instruments and prepared string instruments for public display.