Conservation and Restoration | Wood
The department of Wood Conservation is responsible for nearly5,000 pieces of furniture with finished or painted surfaces, 700 wooden floors, numerous painted or exposed-wood panels, and several wooden sculptures, as well as royal carriages, sedan chairs, and coaches from the 17th to 20th centuries from the inventory of the Berlin and Potsdam palaces. The very significant pieces of furniture and ensembles bear witness to official and domestic courtly culture in Prussia, and are closely connected to the renowned artists, such as Dagly, Kambly, Hoppenhaupt, Spindler, Roentgen, Hacker, Fiedler, or Schinkel, who designed them.
The work requires exacting knowledge of the inventories and involves the ongoing preservation of all exhibited and stored works through proper care and damage prevention. Regular monitoring of the condition of works, their systematic cleaning and maintenance, and special protection measures, especially for the floors, are essential methods of preserving the collections, which convey the complexity and fragile nature of the interior ensembles.
Conservation and restoration measures on the pieces of furniture and ensembles or the interiors are preceded by comprehensive technological examinations and a methodological assessment. These often interdisciplinary and interdepartmental procedures lead to a coordinated restoration concept and ensure the quality of the needed measures. Resulting findings go toward developing tailored restoration methods and expand the conservation sciences’ state of knowledge. This concerns, for example, valuable marquetry on furniture, parquet floors, and paneling; Boulle cabinetry and tortoiseshell work; European lacquer work; gilding and silvering; as well as polished and veneered wooden surfaces.
For work assigned to external conservators, the department compiles service specifications and oversees the execution with quality and cost controls. All restoration projects should respect the ensemble’s overall character, avoid measures that cause incongruity among the works of art, and accept changes that have occurred over time.
The Potsdam conservation team of six furniture restorers, as well as the Berlin team’s two furniture restorers and two restorers specialized in paint finishes, divides its activities between the two main facilities, in line with the distribution of the palaces throughout Berlin, Potsdam, and the Mark Brandenburg.