George. Of course you are right in much of what you say. In truth, restoration and conservation occupy different parts of the same continuum. Moreover, the terms become interchangeable and confused depending on the context. Further, there are - as you suggest - differing opinions as to where the dividing lines may lie. Even within the lab in which my wife toiled (in Halifax, NS, for Parks Canada) there were conflicting views as to approach. Indeed, in different parts of the world there are contrasting approaches. In North America many are concerned with trying to preserve eveything and anything - this is certainly the case with archaeological collections. But, if you have ever seen a bag of corroded and actively corroding iron nails saved from some excavation - which usually end up as a bag of "rust dust" - it immediately strikes home that preservation must be both a selective and a realistic process. You can do all you want to control humidity and climate, treatment, etc. but there are times when it becomes a lost leader. Europeans, at least where archaeological artefacts are concerned, are much more selective as to what is kept and where effort is directed in terms of conservation and treatment (that having been said, I have also worked in one museum in the UK where part of one wing was literally beginning to sink under the weight of its collections!).
I have been involved in preservation decisions first hand, in Britain, Italy and Canada, and it is interesting to compare notes. Regardless of approach there is a realisation throughout the Conservation/Restoration world that, at times, you cannot reverse the forces of nature and no manner of conservation or restoration will save some artefacts in the long run. What you do in such circumstances is record as much data as you can before information is lost.
What this means in terms of our hobby of vintage bike collecting I don't know. How many of us keep our machines in properly climate and humidity controlled environments? I know I don't and I am married to a former conservator!!!
Paul B. Williams, PhD (Queen's) 70 Viscount Ave., Ottawa, ON, Canada K1Z7M9 ----- Original Message ----- From: email@example.com To: Dr. Paul Williams Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2007 10:00 AM Subject: Re: [CR]When is a restoration not a restoration?
Paul: In some sense all these arguments are semantic. Conservation is restoration albeit "educated" restoration. Of course, although I'm a fan of restoration, when needed, I would hope that the restorer is competent and, perhaps more significantly, does no harm. You would then consider him or her a conservator. As you well know, even among the most elite art and archaeological conservators there exist profound disagreements about the style and extent of their work. Such are the ways of the world. Another phenomenon needs to be broached here on CR sooner or later that is related to our present thread-that of stripping of bikes. As almost everyone knows there is a type of profiteer that buys vintage bikes, strips them and sells the frame and parts separately hoping for a profit. Although they have a perfect right to do with their property as they will, I have always felt that, in many cases, this sort of thing is more destructive than poorly done restoration. Another point of view is that this enables other bikes to be restored! This argument also has value. Your "contribution" was very much enjoyed by, George Hollenberg, MD Westport, CT, USA
----- Original Message ----- From: "Dr. Paul Williams" Date: Sunday, June 3, 2007 9:20 am Subject: Re: [CR]When is a restoration not a restoration? To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com
> George, > > The distinction between conservation and restoration is not > simply one of > semantics. My wife was an archaeological conservator for over 15 > years and > used to hammer home to me (a lowly archaeologist at the time) > the > differences between the two. Conservation is more an issue of > stabilisation > and prevention. The work of the conservator is to make sure that > an object > is cleaned and that steps are taken to ensure that corrosion and > deterioration are halted or, where not entirely possible, > slowed. > Conservators try to maintain patinas and evidence of use, etc. > Where they > infill, inpaint or whatever, it is always very slightly > distinctive from the > original and usually reversible. This varies from works of > restoration where > old surfaces are often stripped and attempts are made to > recreate the > original. > > In the case of a vintage bike, a restorer would likely remove > the old finish > and repaint whereas a conservator would clean the bike > (including removing > corrosion) maintaining the original patina and inpainting where > needed. You > would be able to see - if somewhat subtle - that the inpainting > was > distinctive from the original finish. They do try and match as > closely as > possible though! The idea is to show that an object has its own > life-story - > including use and abuse! > > Just my Sunday morning's contribution. > > Cheers, > > Paul B. Williams, PhD (Queen's) > 70 Viscount Ave., > Ottawa, ON, Canada > K1Z7M9 > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: > To: "Jerome & Elizabeth Moos" > Cc: "Classic Rendezvous" > Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 4:22 PM > Subject: Re: [CR]When is a restoration not a restoration? > > > > Now we're really starting to conflate various concepts. > > Provenance, in art, has to do with a notion similar to "chain > of custody," > > which helps in determining originality, especially of unsigned > objects.> The fact that someone likes the alterations he made in > a bike may make it > > more attractive to him, but has nothing to do with the > accepted meaning of > > provenance. Other people may or may not appreciate those changes. > > In the long run, I suspect that almost all steel bikes will > have to > > undergo some form of restoration, some may prefer to call that > > "conservation," but that's just another semantic argument. > > For all I can see there's nothing intrinsically superior about > an > > "original" bike to a restored one, if the restorations are > well done. > > The real test with collectables will one of time-what will be > appreciated > > in, let's say, one hundred years-the conventional definition > of a true > > antique. > > George Hollenberg MD > > CT,USA > > ----- Original Message ----- > > From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos > > Date: Saturday, June 2, 2007 4:05 pm > > Subject: Re: [CR]When is a restoration not a restoration? > > To: Mitch Harris , "Jonathanadamgree@aol.com" > > Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com > > > >> My thinking is that provence trumps originality. And although > >> we usually think of provenance in terms of a bike being used by > >> a famous racer, I think the Gitane has personal provenance for > >> you. Changes made in one's youth are a reminder of that youth, > >> and assuming that youth was a relatively happy one, I'd tend to > >> preserve the changes. > >> > >> I have a similar issue with a LeJeune F-70 (on the CR site) > >> that I bought new in 1973 (or maybe 1972). At the first repaint > >> I had some brazeons added. I did not have them removed at a > >> second repaint and restoration. One reason was that brazeons > >> reduce paint damage from component clamps. But the more > >> important reason is that the brazeons were added by the late Ray > >> Gasorowski, the bulider of Romic frames, of which I own two. So > >> preserving the brazeons in some small way preserves Ray's > >> memory. > >> > >> I also have an Austro-Daimler Superleight (also on the CR > >> site) which Ray repainted, masking the original beige sections > >> with the original decals to preserve said decals, while painting > >> the rest chocolate brown. I didn't realize at the time what a > >> pain in the ass that was for him, but he didn't complain, and > >> didn't charge me a lot extra. To restore this to original now > >> would be unthinkable. An original A-D Superleight is not nearly > >> as rare as the memory of Ray's skill and his good nature. > >> > >> Regards, > >> > >> Jerry Moos > >> Big Spring, TX > >> > >> > >> > >> Mitch Harris wrote: > >> Quote: > >> "in my opinion the strict sense of original means original. > >> But if you > >> compare these bikes to a stradivarius or amati violin the line > >> begins to fade. None > >> or very few of those instruments exist in an original state. > >> They were/are > >> modified by other luthiers. It does not seem to decrease value > >> because the > >> instruments may not still exist without help. Maybe comparing > >> frames to old > >> fiddles or old master pieces is incorrect, but it might be in > >> 300-400 more years." > >> __________________________________ > >> I'm enjoying the comparison to violins because the greatest > >> players in the most important concerts are likely to be using > >> them--these older relics seem to out-perform the modern > >> instruments. Think if Lance showed up on the start line on a > >> rare and carefully preserved 40's Urago because he made him more > >> able to win the tour, while the other riders looked on enviously > >> from carbon Treks. > >> > >> I'm wondering about the issue Jerry brought up because I'm > >> about to have my 1975 Gitane refinished and I'm trying to figure > >> out whether to restore it to original spec. when I bought it new > >> when I was 16. I didn't like the color (what can you say to a 16 > >> year old kid) and I had it repainted soon after I bought it, and > >> also had them cut up the shifter clamp to make braze-on shifter > >> pods for the Huret Jubilee shift levers. Also had him braze on > >> top-of-bracket cable guides. I raced it that way as a teenager, > >> and today it still has the original Huret Jubilee shift levers > >> mounted on the custom-made braze-ons. Should I shop for a Huret > >> shifter clamp and bb-cable guide and have the braze-ons removed, > >> or are these modifications--made my an enthusiastic new racer > >> kid--to be thought of as "original" in the sense of use > >> original? > >> > >> Mitch Harris > >> Little Rock Canyon, Utah > >> > >> > >> > >> On 6/2/07, Jonathanadamgree@aol.com > >> wrote: > >> In a message dated 6/2/2007 1:14:39 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, > >> firstname.lastname@example.org writes: > >> > >> So are these originals or restorations? If the same hands > >> finish it a > >> second time, is it then again "original"? > >> > >> > >> > >> Jerry, > >> > >> Jonathan Greene > >> Oviedo FL > >> > >> > >> > >> ************************************** See what's free at > >> http://www.aol.com. > >> > >> --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts --- > >> multipart/alternative > >> text/plain (text body -- kept) > >> text/html > >> --- > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Classicrendezvous mailing list > >> Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org > >> http://www.bikelist.org/mailman/listinfo/classicrendezvous > >> > >> > >> > >> > >> > >> --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts --- > >> multipart/alternative > >> text/plain (text body -- kept) > >> text/html > >> --- > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Classicrendezvous mailing list > >> Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org > >> http://www.bikelist.org/mailman/listinfo/classicrendezvous > >> > > > > George Hollenberg MD > > CT, USA > > > > > > --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts --- > > multipart/alternative > > text/plain (text body -- kept) > > text/html > > --- > > _______________________________________________ > > Classicrendezvous mailing list > > Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org > > http://www.bikelist.org/mailman/listinfo/classicrendezvous > > > > > > >
George Hollenberg MD