Artist- Hemendranath Majumdar 
Medium: Watercolour on Whatman’s board 
Dimension: 50.3 x 35 cm (19 x 13 inch) 
Period: 1937 
Private collection 

In this conservation case study, we delve into the intricate restoration of a watercolor and gouache painting by Hemendranath Mazumdar, executed in 1937. Measuring 50.3 x 35 cm (19 x 13 inches), this artwork faced a myriad of challenges due to its medium and age, including brittleness, exfoliation, paper and board support losses, tears, stains, and discoloration. 

Mounted on Whatman’s board, the painting presented a unique challenge due to its layered structure. Whatman board, renowned for its stability, posed complexities in conservation. Our team embarked on a thorough restoration process to address these issues while preserving the integrity of the board. 

The restoration journey commenced with the humidification of the object using semi-permeable non-woven polyester parchment and Gore-Tex. Mechanical separation of layers revealed four paper pulp boards sandwiched between layers of paper on both sides. Challenges arose due to the board’s fast drying and irregular separation, an effect of time and age. 

Treatment on the verso half, under the guidance of Mr. Sanjay Dhar, involved de-acidification and separation of sensitive layers using low-pressure suction. Despite challenges such as fungal infestation and adhesive insolubility, our team persevered, neutralizing infestation, re-adhering layers, and locally treating exfoliation and stains. 

The restoration not only preserved the artwork’s structural stability but also revitalized its aesthetic appeal, ensuring its longevity for future generations to appreciate. This conservation journey underscored the importance of meticulous planning, innovative techniques, and collaborative expertise in preserving invaluable artworks. By addressing the unique challenges posed by the Whatman board, we not only restored a significant piece of cultural heritage but also expanded our understanding of conservation methodologies for similar future endeavors.