The candelabra found in Vizcaya’s Living Room is an interesting object. It is mainly composed of 11 stackable elements, the oldest of which dates from the first or second century A.D., and later pieces from as late as the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries.
Researchers have also identified it as one of the ancient marvels found at Vizcaya, of which the museum has about ten or eleven pieces.
The Restoration Process
The team’s first task was to assess damages before deciding on a strategy for moving forward. This included identifying and evaluating previous repairs.
Conservation work, in general, requires a gentle touch and much care. The team begins with the gentlest solutions and methods to prevent further damage to the object.
First, the object was dry cleaned, which is similar to dusting, and uses soft brushes to remove debris. Then mild detergent is applied to the surface. There were areas of wax residue found at the base of the candelabra, which likely resulted from products used to maintain the surrounding floors. These were removed with different proprietary solvents.
Once clean, the candelabra was ready for the next step. The team began filling losses, such as any cracks or material losses.
Conservation on Display
One of the things Vizcaya’s Collections Care team and contractors enjoyed about this project was the interaction with the public. The candelabra was placed in the Main House’s center Courtyard, allowing passersby to watch the work in progress and interact with professionals in real-time.
This approach also gave visitors the opportunity to see, up close, all the hard work and time that goes into caring for our object collection.
With Support from The Villagers Inc.
This project was made possible by a generous donation by The Villages Inc. In fact, Vizcaya has received constant support from the locals for past years. This organization was supported the maintenance and treatment of a fireplace, outdoor light fixtures on the terraces, and even some statuary in the gardens.
The Villagers have become preservation partners for Vizcaya, an invaluable resource. To support ongoing conservation efforts at Vizcaya, please consider making a donation online.