Orange silk velvet cape with a linen taffeta lining and green velvet applications finished with twisted silk braid. 17th century Salto de línea Inventory Nº: 72,050.Salto de línea Material. Fabric: Silk velvet, linen taffeta, twisted silk braidSalto de línea
State of conservation:
This item of female clothing had been altered with the idea of making it into a mantle for a sculpture, possibly of a Virgin Mary.
The fabric was dirty, with tears, and a series of alterations that had been carried out during its history.
The accumulated dust and the desiccation of the cloth had aggravated the deterioration, the fibres being in a brittle state. It had two large holes and missing cloth, with loss of warp and weft, causing stress on the fabric and small wrinkles which could have become even larger tears.
The main alterations were: Very marked creases and deformations, superficial dirt and dehydration, lack of pliability because of the brittle state of the fibres, loss of velvet pile, unstitching caused by strain, organic, polysaccharide, and white paint stains, colour differences between hidden areas and those exposed to light, holes and tears, with loss of warp and weft, such as the piece cut out of the top left part of the velvet and the hole made for the statue’s arm to go through. The red and white cotton thread stitches made when the item of clothing was altered created damaging creases.
Mechanical cleaning was carried out in two stages, first by gentle vacuuming andthen by vacuuming with prior application of protective cotton tulle in the parts in worst condition. The stains were removed with a scalpel. The deformations were aligned and corrected using cold-mineralised steam and strategically placed weights to remove bulges and creases. The steam hydrated the fabric, partly restoring the velvet’s colour and shine.
The backings were reinforced at points with cloth of suitable mechanical and physical properties. To reinforce the green velvet applications, a previously dyed nylon tulle was chosen; for the loose threads, fixation lines and finishing scapular joining the tulle to decoration, warp silk was used. Sewing points were used to mend torn areas. To avoid sizing and other modern finishes, they were washed with demineralised water and Laponite RD.
Finally, the cape was mounted on a specially made support to allow easier handling and transport. It is a cellular polycarbonate sheet, lined with moleskin, covered with Velazquez linen scoured and stressed to completely remove any stiffness. The cape was fixed to the support with 2-ply warp silk thread along its four sides, with some reinforcement in the middle of the cape to prevent its weight causing strain.