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​Alexa Beller, of Gianfranco Pocobene Studio in Massachusetts, works on the intricate painted ceiling and plasterwork in the reception room at Victoria Mansion in downtown Portland. (Image: The Forecaster)

Alexa Beller (WUDPAC Class of 2017) is part of a team working to preserve the myriad decorative surfaces found in a Victorian mansion in Portland, Maine.


Excerpted from a February 7, 2017 article by Kate Irish Collins in The Forecaster:

Recognized as one of the only remaining structures of its type in the U.S., Victoria Mansion has received a $130,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to restore the mansion’s reception room.

Work began this month and will last through early spring, with a goal to have the project completed by the time the museum is ready to re-open to visitors May 1.

Museum Director Thomas Johnson said the reception room project is the “largest conservation project” staff has ever undertaken. “It will be spectacular when it’s finished,” he said.

Johnson said the reception room was named one of the 50 most important historic rooms in America in 2010, and, while the room and its decor have always “dazzled visitors,” it’s only now that “we’re seeing the original intent.”

The restoration work is being overseen by the Gianfranco Pocobene Studio, which is based in Massachusetts. Pocobene himself is in the building on most days; the reception area is the fourth room in the mansion his studio has been hired to restore.

​The detailed framing on the reception room ceiling in Victoria Mansion in Portland. (Image: The Forecaster)

“We’re preserving every square inch we possibly can,” Pocobene said. “This is very meticulous work, and it’s a delicate balance because we want to preserve as much of the original artist’s (work as possible).”

Johnson said restoring the reception room has been planned for several years and the museum is fundraising to match the grant it received.

The restoration that Pocobene and his team are doing on the painted walls and ceiling is only one phase of a five-year plan to fully restore the room to what it looked like in 1860, Johnson said.

The goal, he said, is to restore everything – from the carpeting to the furnishings – to make the room as historically accurate as possible.


To read the full article, click here.

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Alexa Beller (WUDPAC Class of 2017) is part of a team working to preserve the myriad decorative surfaces found in a Victorian mansion in Portland, Maine.

Alexa Beller (WUDPAC Class of 2017) is part of a team working to preserve the myriad decorative surfaces found in a Victorian mansion in Portland, Maine.

3/7/2017
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Conservation of a decorated Victorian mansion
 
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu