Let’s pretend – conservation of an early imitation tortoiseshell.

Thijs Janssen


Tortoiseshell has been used as a decorative material in the arts since the beginning of recorded history. It has always been scarce and is therefore often imitated. Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, has a cabinet from the 1840’s in its collection with a rare imitation finish: it
is not horn, nor is it one of the semi-synthetic plastics that were developed in the nineteenth century. Over time the finish had become dull, cracked, distorted and fragments have chipped off. In order to develop an appropriate method of treatment, it was necessary to study its composition and material properties. It proved to be a rare imitation material, made out
of animal glue.


Het Loo Palace, Frederik Koster, silverware cabinet, craquelure, faux tortoiseshell, imitation, animal glue, gelatine, glutin, conservation,

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