Almuth Lutkenhause-Lackey

A three-figure sculpture by the German-born Canadian artist Katharina Almuth Lutkenhause-Lackey was recently repaired in the studio. The 15 cm tall bronze group had been knocked over and the top figure had broke off.

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Almuth Lutkenhause-Lackey is best know for her Christa-figure “Crucified Woman” originally installed at the Toronto Bloor St United Church and later moved to Emmanuel College. In 1979 this was the second such crucified female Christ sculpture which has continually stimulated strong reactions and has inspired heated christological discussions.

Many of her works were cast in bronze and are now part of private and public collections. The realistic sculpture, a three-figure balancing group, bears the artist’s typical modeling technique. The main female figure is anchored to a small white marble base and the two children figures attach to it. Looking in profile one can see that the weight of the group shifts towards the back rendering it unstable.

The broken figure was welded back on. Since the point of attachment was small and the joint bears lots of structural weight we chose  fusing over brazing, soldering or epoxy. Because the two figures come together at their heads (area with highest detail ) the repair was unobtrusive and an active effort was made to disturb as little of the original patina as possible.

The repaired areas received some patination and hot wax to blend with the rest of the bronze surface.

Twelve Monument Survey


The purpose of the survey was:

  • Evaluate the structural and superficial condition
  • Assess each material and the overall condition
  • Assess the site logistics
  • Prepare a detailed condition report
  • Photograph current condition and provide archival record of all photographs
  • Examine and record problematic areas using 20~40X magnification microscopy
  • Photograph selected areas using UV and IR photography
  • Provide recommendations for future care and annual maintenance

On-site examination and investigation – 40 hours

Research of materials and preparation of condition report and treatment/maintenance recommendation – 62 hours

Recording the Weathering of Outdoor Stone Monuments Using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI): The Case of the Guild of All Arts (Scarborough, Ontario)

Article Abstract – Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation / de l’Association canadienne pour la conservation at la restauration – A. Gabov & G. Bevan

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), developed in 2001 at Hewlett-Packard (HP) Labs, has been available for almost a decade but has been largely overshadowed by the rapid growth of laser and structured-light scanning in many cultural heritage applications. Work by Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) in San Francisco and at the University of Minho, Portugal, has done much to promote the technology and to develop a standard workflow. Demonstrated in this technical note is the way RTI can be integrated into the toolkit of the working stone conservator. The case of weathered façades in sandstone and limestone at Guild of All Arts in Scarborough, Ontario will be considered and the potential of RTI to reveal original tool marks on stone as well as spalling, both features that can be difficult to capture reliably outdoors with standard photography. RTI promises, by virtue of its ease-of-use and low-cost, to become a standard tool of documentation among conservation and heritage professionals for before and after-treatment recording.

L’imagerie par transformation de la réflectance (ITR, ou RTI en anglais) fut développée en 2001 aux laboratoires de Hewlett-Packard (HP). Bien que cette technologie soit maintenant disponible depuis bientôt dix ans, son application dans le domaine du patrimoine culturel fut éclipsée par celles de l’imagerie par balayage laser et de l’imagerie par lumière structurée, ces dernières ayant connu une croissance très rapide. Les travaux du Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) à San Francisco et de l’Université de Minho, au Portugal, ont grandement contribué à faire connaître cette technologie et à développer des processus d’opération standardisés. Cette note technique démontrera comment l’ITR peut être intégrée à la trousse d’outils du restaurateur de pierre. Ce faisant, le cas des façades de la Guild of All Arts (Guilde des artistes et artisans) à Scarborough, faites en grès et calcaire et usées par le temps et les intempéries, sera présenté. Le potentiel de l’ITR de révéler autant les marques d’outils originales que l’usure et les lacunes de la pierre sera mis en évidence; ce sont d’ailleurs des caractéristiques pouvant être difficiles à documenter de façon fiable dans un environnement extérieur à l’aide de la photographie traditionnelle. L’ITR, de par sa facilité d’utilisation et son faible coût, pourrait devenir un outil de documentation standard de l’avant et l’après traitement pour le professionnel de la conservation-restauration du patrimoine culturel.


Vol36_Doc1 (<- click to download article)

The Balkan Heritage Field School / “Fresco Hunting” Research Project 2012

Since 2010 CSMO has been affiliated with The Balkan Heritage Field School (BHFS) a non-profit, non-governmental organization which is the largest archeological field school in Eastern Europe.

In 2012 the “Fresco Hunting” Research Expedition offered by BHFS assisted by CSMO (A Gabov) expanded the existing iconographic schemes of imaging the Medieval Churches in Western Bulgaria by adopting Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Multi Spectral Imaging and Orthophotograhy (Tamaki Suzuki, Japan Centre for International Cooperation in Conservation, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo).  The objective of this two-week module of the “Fresco Hunt” was to introduce the new and affordable techniques of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and imaging from UV-induced visible fluorescence to near infrared in order to document rapidly decaying and damaged frescoes in Medieval Churches in Western Bulgaria. In the RTI technique a camera is focused at a surface and series of photographs are taken each with a different light position. A free software package originally developed at Hewlett-Packard Labs is then used to combine the information from the sixty or so images to produce a single three-dimensional rendering of the surface. To learn more about RTI see the movie filmed and edited for an RTI project at the Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston:

Multi Spectral Imaging uses digital camera and various light sources and filters to record reflectance spectra of the painted surface and augment the surface information gathered by Visible Light Imaging and RTI. All these digital techniques are non-invasive and non-destructive and are regularly used by CSMO for our artifact documentation.


Sveti Nikola May 2012 / half of the students with 3 of the instructors

RTI, MSI and Orthophotograhy were used in the medieval church of “Sveti Nikola”, located in the Divina hamlet at the outskirts of Kalotina village.

The roof of the old church was torn down in 1905 leaving the structure exposed until a local resident rebuild the roof. In 1938 the rebuilt roof was additionally renovated. The roof was once again renovated in 2011-12.

The church is one-nave basilica with a narthex in which you enter through a door on the south wall. This wall has a small window, which lights the apse. There is significant deformation of the building: the north wall is 20 cms longer then the south and the west wall is 30 cms longer then the east. The original, long missing roof, was probably in stone semi-cylindrical style.

The murals in the narthex appear to have two layers of frescoes. In this area the most notable are the images of the donors. These portraits are series of images of two women, two men and five children. The second group of donors takes the entire width of the north wall of the narthex, depicting two men and a woman standing behind their three children. This mural is in very bad condition. The faces of the depicted are much alike. The bottom portion of the Fresco is missing. Rectangular white flags next to the heads of the donors originally had an inscription of names, these are now almost completely illegible. RTI and MSI were successful in documenting the current condition and identifying long lost information.  The main donor is the man on the proper right on the eastern wall, who is depicted gifting the model of the church in the hands of the Sveti Nichola. The image of Sveti Nichola on the east wall is almost completely destroyed.

Of the remaining images in the church the image of Jesus Christ (at the entrance to the nave) and scenes of torture of the sinners, are damaged almost beyond recognition.

KL_2012_NR_E_C2_1064_AG_FC_IR_910 KL_2012_NR_E_C2_1064_AG_UVE_FC KL_2012_NR_E_C2_1067_AG_UVF (False Colour IR; False Colour UV Reflectance and UV Fluorescence © A Gabov & BHFC 2012)

Unlike the narthex, in the nave few fragments have survived: in the apse part of religious scene (oranta); on the south wall only a single figure is preserved; next to the east are the saints warriors, and above them are a group of saints (all the way to the western wall); the west wall has lost almost all frescoes; on the north wall are saints and warriors along with “Pilate washing his hands” scene.

A. Grabar originally proposed that the frescoes in this church date from the end of XV century. This preposition can be corrected taking into account the commemorative inscription originally located above the window of the church (which is no longer at the church). In 1947 this inscription was removed by Professor Asen Vassiliev and is now stored in the Archaeological Museum in Sofia. It reads: ” Izvoleniem and … finished village, holy spirit, built and painted by…t / it / our Father / car / in this day of the great Yoa / n Alexa / ndar / …day …”. This wording makes it clear that the church was built and decorated during the reign of Ivan Alexander (1331-1371).

The church “Sveti Nikola” is another important medieval Eastern European building. Although it is not in a good state of preservation, it is one of very few XIV century churches that remain. In addition to the on going preparation of a full visual record of the frescoes and documenting the condition of the structure in an effort to publish a ‘Corpus of Medieval Frescoes from Western Bulgaria’ this church will need stabilization and the frescoes will have to be conserved.

REFERENCES: (Accessed January 2012)

Miyatev, Kr-royal crown in a village hut, IEM, t.XIV, 1943Vasiliev, Assen, Churches and monasteries in Western Bulgaria, Excavations and proichvaniya, t.IV, 1950

Vasiliev, Assen-Donor portraits izd.BAN, 1960

Olympic and Paralympic Medals

The Ottawa facility of the Royal Canadian Mint spent two years designing and fabricating the 615 Olympic winter games medals and the 399 Paralympic winter games medals for 2010. Each medal weighs between 500 and 576 grams among the heaviest in Olympic Games history. It took the combined efforts of 34 Mint engineers, engravers, die technicians, machinists and production experts to create this series of athlete medals.  The process included 30 steps and took 402 days.  These medals are the first Olympic medals to use and undulating form which required 12 dies which were computer-sculpted and milled.  Each medal was struck nine times with 1900 tons of pressure in sets of three with annealing and polishing between sets.  The blanks for these medals were cast, milled and rolled bars cut to a precise width and thickness.  Each of the 1014 medals is unique; a different design was created by Omer Arbel for each from two works of art, the killer whale for the Olympics and the raven for the Paralympics, both by Corrine Hunt.  The medals were presented with a silk scarf containing the full artwork so that the individual medals designs could be found by the athletes in the greater whole of the piece.  These designs and the text for the medals had to be laser etched and engraved due to the undulating shape of the medals.  A specially designed ribbon hanger was pressed into each of the medals.  This hanger design was tested to withstand 200 pounds of pressure.  The medals were electroplated and then protected with a clear coat before being cold weather tested to -20°C.

(Excerpts from the royal Canadian mint web site:

The objects were fully examined and a conservation condition report was provided.

CSMO prepared a custom archival support for the storage and transportation of the 2010 three Olympic and three Paralympic Winter games medals following the IOC, National and International conservation guidelines.

2010 Medals

The final report included recommendation on the future care, handling, storage and conservation of the artifacts.

Packing and Move of Artifacts


Hundred of artifacts were packed and carefully moved to a temporary storage to accommodate the up coming renovations of a museum space.
The packing and move was accomplished over two weeks. Some of the more friable items were handled and transported individually.
Treatment Dates: March 3 – March 11, 2011

Lady Macdonald

CSM_8712 CSM_8713

A marble bust of Lady Macdonald was in our studio over the winter for cleaning and preparation for an upcoming exhibit. The bust was crated and transported to and from the studio to facilitate the treatment. The cleaning removed surface dirt and grime as well as some paint residues from the base. The marble bust and base are now clean and ready to face the public.

Treatment Dates: December 7 2010 – March 4 2011

Bosch Investigation Holland & Belgium


For a week in late November Alexander Gabov was part of a small team of historians, conservators and photographers who started a multi-year technical investigation of panel paintings by the world renowned Hieronymus Bosch. The team spent time in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which is commonly called “Den Bosch”, Ghent in Belgium and conducted some equipment testing at the conservation program at Maastricht back in Holland.

Three paintings were successfully documented. High resolution digital photography, IR photography and IR reflectography were all used to document the paintings.
IRR OsirisIRR (Osiris)High Res SinHigh Res Detail (Sinar)

If you know Dutch click on the link below to read more

S25C-410120117020 (<- pdf download)

Our Favourite Cenotaph

GanCenoBT GanCenoAT

Over the last six years we have had the privilege to initially conserve and continually maintain a cenotaph which unites a small community and presides over the memories of their lost heroes.

The monument consists of a granite base, with slightly larger than life bronze sculpture of a soldier. The initial treatment reduced the built up corrosion, converted it to a stable patina and waxed the bronze surface to protect it from the harsh elements. The stone base was cleaned, re-pointed and the faded incised lettering was in-painted.

Every year an active maintenance program has been followed and the result is a sculpture in stable condition which provides an attractive focal point in a busy central park.

Working in late Fall makes for splendid backdrops.


Treatment Dates: July – August 2005; November 2006: November 2007; November 2008; and November 2010

Fourteen Outdoor Trophies, Memorials and Monuments

Fourteen outdoor trophies, memorials, monuments and other structures were originally assessed in 2008 and recommendations for future treatment and maintenance were provided based on the National and International Conservation Standards. Of the 14 outdoor objects six were structurally unstable and require immediate conservation attention. The other 8 objects, although structurally stable, required conservation treatments in order to slow down/prevent their degradation.

It is important to understand that these large composite pieces were designed to be cared for on a weekly if not daily basis while in service. Now on outdoor display a minimum of biennial inspection and maintenance treatment are required to properly care for them and extend their after-service-life.

The Brownfield Gun

The Ordnance QF 25 pounder was considered by many to have been the best field artillery piece of WWII, since it combined high rates of fire with a reasonably lethal shell in a highly mobile piece.  Since both Major-General Brownfield and the 25 pounder were held in high esteem for their contributions to the Artillery forces, the gun is a fitting memorial to Major-General Brownfield.



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After Treatment:

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Centurion Tank Mark 5

This Mk5 tank is armed with a 20 pounder gun, and is the version originally deployed with the Canadian army in Europe.  After the NATO tanks were up-gunned to the L7 105 mm gun, Centurions with 20 pounder guns were retained in Canada for training.

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After Treatment:

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German Anti-Aircraft Gun 88mm Flak 37

The Flak 37 88mm (officially the 8.8 cm) was probably the best known piece of artillery equipment in the Second World War.  The Flak, short form for the German ‘Fliegerabwehrkanone,’ meaning anti-aircraft gun, could penetrate 200 mm of armour from a distance of up to 1000 m, thus having the ability to overpower the armour of contemporary aircrafts.

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This particular gun was used in World War II against both aircrafts and tanks, and was likely part of a large shipment of German equipment sent to Canada by the author Farley Mowat. Traditionally, captured enemy guns have been widely used as war trophies in Canada, and are considered symbols of victory.  Early examples of this practice, namely two cannons taken from Sevastopol during the Crimean War of 1853-56 to commemorate a successful siege, can be found in Kingston’s City Park. Following the First World War, the Canadian government provided captured German guns to various municipalities and other organizations to serve as War Trophies.


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After Treatment:

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Additionally Treated:

German Anti-Tank Gun 88mm Pak 43


4” Twin MTG HA XIX Naval Gun from HMCS Huron

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Torpedo Mk IX


and four other monuments.