Art Forms In Nature: Examination and Conservation of a Blaschka Glass Model of The Protozoan Aulosphaera Elegantissima

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Brierley, Liesa;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 54, Number 4, p.255-267 (2009)


The paper describes the examination and conservation treatment of a glass model of a micro-organism made by the German glass artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the late nineteenth century. The beautiful object is part of a collection held at the Natural History Museum in London and has been chosen for priority conservation due to its relatively poor condition. The model is assembled from several hundred parts with the help of organic materials. Major conservation issues identified were breakages and detachments of extremely fragile glass spines, the partially unstable glass composition and consequent deterioration, the presence of a water-soluble organic coating and inappropriate previous storage conditions. Characterization of the original materials and their deterioration processes was carried out using a range of analytical facilities, allowing the development of suitable treatments. These included a two-stage cleaning process, reattachment of broken spines with Paraloidâ„¢ B72 and reversible remounting of fragments using nylon micro-tubing.