Hotel Washington Wall Ornament
The historic Hotel Washington has been a fixture in downtown Washington, DC since its construction in 1917. Designed by the storied firm of Carrère and Hastings, this landmark hotel witnessed a major renovation and conversion to a W brand hotel in 2009.
We were contracted to perform conservation services on a decorative object which had been acquired to adorn the wall behind the reception desk. The piece is a large jeweled fixture, with faceted glass cabochons set into a metal frame, encircled by small glass rosettes. Although new, the ornament had been damaged during transportation to the site, causing nearly half the rosettes to become dislodged. Because the hotel was scheduled to reopen in less than one week, art handlers hung the ornament in its final location despite its condition.
Working under extreme scheduling and site limitations, conservators carefully cleaned the loose glass ornaments and the settings using fine dental tools, scalpels and wire brushes. The elements were wiped cleaned with solvents to eliminate adhesive residue. Conservators took the ornament’s high-traffic location into consideration and identified a successful combination of two adhesives that would impart both tenacity and some flexibility to the rosettes, to prevent them being easily dislodged by accidental contact in the future. Minor losses to selected rosettes were rebuilt using an epoxy putty and carefully in-painted.