Oyster Shell Painting: Restoration Complete!

A couple posts back we introduced you to our painting on oyster shell (1974.10) of the Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Boat Winona.  Just last week the painting was returned and took its place again in the Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Station exhibit at the Cannonball House Lewes Maritime Museum.  Yesterday our conservator Gene Boemer stopped by with his final report and digital photography documenting the process of restoring the shell.

The painting is signed by “S. Morse 1892.”  Boemer’s research points to a Susan Mary Morse who was active at this time period and lived and traveled in the region.  Other examples of her style suggest she could be the artist behind this work and her signature matches almost exactly.  Not only was our piece professionally restored, the research on the piece (including information and photographs of Winona) truly make this piece even more special.

Enjoy the pictures below of the steps (and challenges) in bringing this unique artifact back to life!

Front of the shell, during examination and before any work has been performed. © The Lewes Historical Society

Inside flange showing inscription and signature before any work has been performed. © The Lewes Historical Society

View of front of shell before the in-fill process begins. © The Lewes Historical Society

Detail showing flaking and particulate damage to portion of the painting featuirng the Winona. © The Lewes Historical Society

Oystershell painting after cleaning and prior to in-fill and in-fill painting. © The Lewes Historical Society

Detail showing gold paint along lips of shell and upper and lower edges discovered during cleaning. © The Lewes Historical Society

Painting area after cleaning, in-fill and in-fill painting. © The Lewes Historical Society

Detail of buildings on Delaware Breakwater - Maritime Exchange and West End Lighthouse. © The Lewes Historical Society

Detail showing restored area featuring Winona. © The Lewes Historical Society

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2 responses to “Oyster Shell Painting: Restoration Complete!

  1. love your painted shells, i would love to learn to paint oyster shells
    i am from louisiana and have lots of shells. carol

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