The 2008 Silver Swan Conservation Project - week 4
Day 16 - 22 September
To date the fish cam has been dismantled and this week is being cleaned and photographed. This is a relatively simple mechanism and is in amazingly good condition with most of its original parts. These comprise the tracks on which the fish sit, mounts, rollers, levers and the cam.
During the dismantling process various interesting discoveries have been made. Four of the seven rollers have another roller attached; one supposition from this is that four of the seven fish swam in an opposite direction to the rest.
Also, there are more screw holes than fish on the tracks; it is possible that there may have been more attachments, perhaps more fish or ornaments in the form of flowers or reeds.
On Friday Karen was looking for a quicker solution to clean the Silver neck rings, unfortunately this is not possible and so the neck rings will be given a basic clean until a later date.
Day 17 - 23 September
Yesterday a third of the fish cam was cleaned. This is the best preserved part of the whole object. Matthew has recognized that the mechanism appears never to have been taken apart therefore it is possibly untouched since the 1770s when it was made.
Meanwhile Karen will carry on with documenting the whole project, which is now in its fourth week. Keeping an accurate record of the conservation, which includes the labelling of over 1,000 pieces, is vital.
It has been decided that in the third week in October, the removal of the main springs, which allow the Silver Swans neck to move, will
take place at Durham University.
Day 18 - 24 September
Yesterday Matthew finished cleaning the fish cam. He is now looking to take apart the modern stop-start mechanism and accessible parts of the main driving system. Matthew will be also making a plan of how the cam, fish and neck work.
Meanwhile Karen is documenting the whole process and packing up the spare silver, i.e. leaves, for long term storage.
Day 19 - 25 September
Yesterday every piece of the main driving movement apart from neck was removed, photographed and measured. The neck will be dismantled next Wednesday.
Today Matthew will clean the mechanism and Karen will keep documenting.
Miles Campbell who is here for today only will survey the 1970’s frame that the Silver Swan sits on at present.
Day 20 - 26 September
Yesterday, Miles Campbell surveyed the frame that the Silver Swan sits on, Matthew cleaned the head and neck operating mechanism and Karen photographed and documented them.
Today will see the cleaning of the remaining 76 Silver neck rings by Karen which is a very time consuming job.
For a full BBC INside Out film of the Silver Swan please click on the following link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/england/realmedia/insideout/northeast/090114_io_north_east_swan?size=16x9&bgc=C0C0C0&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1
To be kept informed about The Bowes Museum please click here