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Case study

The restoration of a Chinese porcelain vase

Treatment of a vase broken 100 years ago

Pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain vases, c.1700, RCIN 64055.1-2 ©

In this series of five short films, David Wheeler, Senior Furniture and Porcelain Conservator with Royal Collection Trust, takes us through the treatment of a pair of vases broken and restored over 100 years ago.

Undertaking this restoration work in 2013 provided an opportunity to compare the restoration and conservation treatments of today with those of the late ninetheenth century when the vase was broken.

The inscription on the base of the vase ©

There is clear evidence of when and how the vase was broken thanks to an inscription written on a piece of canvas and stuck to its base.  The inscription reads:

January 1892
Ann Barkworth Housemaid
reported the accident of breaking
this blue and white bottle,
which was found to be in 34 pieces
and has been carefully repaired.

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Dismantling the vase

Part 3: Assembling the vase

Part 4: Applying filler

Part 5: Cutting back and retouching

Collection objects in this case study

Learn more in our Collection Online

Jingdezhen [Jiangxi Province, China]
Pair of vases c.1700
  • King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle
RCIN 64055

A pair of large blue-and-white porcelain vases. Each with tall cylindrical body, narrower cylindrical neck and projecting rim, and low foot; the glazed base with an empty double ring in blue. Painted round the sides in two ranks are square panels with landscapes with figures or animals, antique objects or floral subjects, all in a blue ground with...

Processes used in this study

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Cog being picked up by tweasers
Process
Repair