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Inside the conservation lab: Marchant's Patent portrait of Josiah Quincy

July 2, 2013

Quincy portrait before treatment
Josiah Quincy portrait before treatment. Notice the white crystals under the layers of glass and the etched words: Marchant's Patent of July 21, 1857.
Quincy portrait during treatment
Portrait of Josiah Quincy during treatment.


As part of a three-year reinterpretation and reinstallation of Quincy House in Quincy, Massachusetts, Historic New England's conservation staff has worked on a range of fascinating projects. In our conservation lab in Haverhill, Massachusetts, staff recently completed treatment on a portrait of Josiah Quincy. The portrait is a rare version of photographic treatment done in the mid-nineteenth century.

The possibly paper photograph was hand-colored and then sealed in a package of wax and chemicals to give it a three-dimensional appearance. In the case of our portrait, an odd crystallization had begun to appear on the surface of the glass, disfiguring the object. After careful research and study, a non-invasive treatment plan was developed and carried out. The object is now back on display at the Quincy House.

Read more about the treatment.


Previous posts from the conservation lab:

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Inside the conservation lab: Marchant's Patent portrait of Josiah Quincy