About this project
The Studebaker National Museum contracted with BRH to conserve their Marquis de Lafayette Caleche (or Barouche). This four passenger carriage, driven by a coachman, has a folding leather top which covers two forward-facing rear passengers. The carriage has a few unique features including a storage box under the driver’s platform and a pair of oil lamps.
What we did
B.R. Howard provided carriage conservation services for this project that included textiles, metals, wood and analysis. Though structurally sound, the carriage has numerous components that were unstable and actively deteriorating. Areas of the carriage had been painted, some painted multiple times, covering the carriage’s original coloring. Leather components were deteriorating and pieces were missing while iron components showed signs of corrosion. All surfaces are covered by a moderate level of dust, dirt, and grime embedded grease.
Microscopic cross-sectional analysis was performed on paint samples from he under carriage and body for research. Iron was chemically stabilized, grease and grime were removed with detergents and solutions, flaking paint was consolidated. Repairs were made to the splitting wood of the wheel hubs using Japanese tissue and epoxy.
The leather top had large tears and losses are seen along edges, points of stress, and areas which were repeatedly folded. The driver’s seat also had areas of damage, including missing sections of braided leather. BRH carefully removed the leather top to utilize as a pattern to replicate and fashion a replacement top. A replicated toe board was also constructed and losses in the driver’s seat cushion were filled.
Varnish and multiple layers of over paint were removed using a dilute solution. The fractured and bent iron brackets, which attach the toe-board to the body, were repaired using MIG welding techniques; the areas were filed and finished to blend with the undamaged original surfaces.
The non-original proper right door handle was replaced using a cast aluminum replica created using a sand mold made from the remaining original proper left handle. The lamps were cleaned and given a protective coating.
Interior textiles were thoroughly vacuumed using a HEPA vacuum cleaner and minor tears and loose or frayed trim were secured.
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