Polychromed Urn from
Coronation of King Kalakaua, 1883.

Accession #F.440.1

'Iolani Palace
Honolulu, Hawai'i

Photo from State Archives

Enlargement of outlined area above.


TOP:   Urn and “handles” made from redwood and decorated in trompe l'oeil painted scenes.  Handle on one side broken across/though five (at least) planes, but was still attached.   Some areas of wood and/or paint loss had occurred along break lines.  Two major fragments of wood were present but detached completely. Handles were originally attached by use of cut nails and hide glue. Nails involved with the broken areas were generally bent and/or broken. Modern wire nails were also present in some of the repaired areas.

BASE:  Turned base had been joined to urn by means of an integral dowel post and what appeared to be an amine/formaldehyde (modern) adhesive. Upper mating edge of base had cracked and had also been repaired with the above adhesive. Traces of two different hide glues were present on the joinery (covered by the amine based adhesive) as well. Discoloration of the amine based adhesive residues had occurred on the painted surfaces and was disfiguring. A new crack had developed adjacent to the old repair. The more recently damaged section was still attached to the base but was loose.  There was some damage and loss to the paint around these areas. From examining the joinery of the base and the glue residues, it was evident that repairs/reattachment had occurred at least two times.


TOP: All exposed nails removed.  Surface areas around breaks masked off.  Epo-tek 301 low viscosity epoxy, instilled into cracks, detached fragments set/aligned into original position, and all clamped into correct alignment. Areas where joinery had cracked apart were injected with hot hide glue and clamped simultaneously with the epoxy repairs.

Areas of loss filled with an Aquazol silica microballoon/whiting mixture and then inpainted  as necessary to match surrounding undamaged areas with Maimeri retouch (reversible) paints.

BASE: Excess adhesive residues removed mechanically as necessary from mating surfaces of dowel post and socket.  Cracked areas around loose piece masked off and instilled with low viscosity epoxy.
The post set into the base was very short and the area of attachment relatively small. It was decided mutually by ‘Iolani Palace curation that a more secure method of attachment would be necessary.

A 7/16” diameter x 6” hole was made into the center of the socket.  A matching hole was made in the center of the dowel post to a depth 7”. A threaded 3/8” diameter stainless steel rod was inserted into the holes and joinery coated with hot hide glue and assembled.  Stainless steel rod was friction fit only.

Cracked/damaged areas around the repairs were inpainted as necessary, to match surrounding undamaged areas with Maimeri paints.


Original and modern nails across break.


Column body broken away at base. Base top cracked.


Detail of cracked base and adhesive residue staining.

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