Our apologies that it has been a while since our last FWW Dioramas conservation posting - it's been a big year!!
Along with continued cleaning and repairs, some of the tasks and activities we've been spending our time on this year are moulding and casting missing weapons, repairing broken weapons and re-joining the previously cut pieces of diorama bases requiring filling and inpainting. The Semakh diorama has been returned to display in the galleries after decades in storage, and the Desert Patrol diorama introduced. We hope to explain each of these in future blog posts when time allows!
A sneak peak at Somme Winter behind the new display façade in the gallery
After the birth of gorgeous baby Abby, six months of maternity leave flew by for me! When I returned part-time in June, the galleries had continued to transform and Nick had successfully led the team making fantastic progress with our required work.
The team has been dynamic and literally spent thousands of hours on this project. We were excited to welcome Emily who joined the team full-time in June to see the diorama project to completion with us early next year. Earlier in the year we sadly farewelled our part-timers Kasi and Eliza from the project as they each took on their other jobs full-time, Janet and David (who work with me in the Paintings Lab) joined us again to install the freshly painted Semakh diorama backdrop; Noel and Helen each had several month-long sessions up from their private practices in Melbourne, and recent conservation students Amalta and Aiden (also previously Information Assistants in the Memorial galleries) spent 10 weeks working with us to help get the dioramas ready for photography ahead of the upcoming opening.
The new display facades and lighting on the dioramas will be a great improvement from the old galleries and it really is exciting seeing them come to life once more - they have endured and stood strong while the space around them was a chaotic construction zone, as our last photos had shown you. We can't wait for you to see them!
The team has been working on longer, themed blog posts on the work we've been doing and we will endeavour to post these when we get the chance to complete them, but for now, a brief selection of photos from the year so far!
Amalta and Aiden cleaning Dernancourt
Eliza continuing cleaning on Mont St Quentin
Emily working with soldiers' rifles on Somme Winter
Nick and Amalta repairing a soldier's hand on Mont St Quentin
Aiden inpainting some plaster paint losses at the front of Ypres
Noel pouring silicon to create the mould of a rifle
Turkish soldier's rifle and bayonet in-progress repair by Emily in the foreground with Noel painting cast rifles in the background
Janet and Helen installing the Semakh backdrop
And I can't help but put this in too..... my baby Abby in her own team shirt with Helen (very talented at hand embroidery!)
If you are new to our series of Blog posts, please click on the 'Dioramas' keyword under the title of this blog to see our previous happenings!