The Restoration of Archaeological Leather and Textiles

About the Workshop

The leather and archaeological textile restoration workshop is the newest department at the Grabar Art Conservation Centre. Formed in 2008, the workshop quickly established itself as one of the leading centres for the restoration of archaeological textiles in the world, and the only centre in the Russian Federation dedicated to restoring leather. Its work involves the development of primary treatment methods of leather and archaeological textiles and conducting structural analyses of fabrics. The workshop's specialists carry out restoration works on complex oversized exhibits – items of clothing and furniture – made of leather and composite materials (furs, cloth, wood and metal), archaeological items made out of leather and textiles, and ethnographic monuments (household items). Textile fibres are fragile organic materials that do not always withstand the impact of extreme conditions in different types of burial sites. Typically, such textiles reach us in a state of serious degradation and are complex items in terms of research and restoration.

At least 15 objects are restored annually

In the years since its establishment, the leather and archaeological textile restoration workshop has carried out significant restoration and research work of ethnographic and archaeological items from the collections of various museums in Russia, Egypt and Mongolia.

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The Centre has been restoring leather and archaeological textile items since 2008

The workshop has only been around for seven years. However, almost all its restorers have had excellent practical training, taking an active part in the restoration of over 40 monuments discovered in the cemetery of Russian tsarinas at the Moscow Kremlin's Ascension Monastery. The restorers managed to find and preserve rare samples of fabrics and gold embroidery from the 15th to the 17th centuries that miraculously survived being buried.

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The Restorers

The workshop is run by Natalia Sinitsyna, fabric restorer of the highest class and first class leather restorer. A total of five art restorers and one researcher are employed by the workshop. Restoring leather requires professional skills and the combined efforts of restorers, chemists and historians. The modestly sized team comprises specialists in various areas.

Scientific Research

It is here that the most difficult and destroyed works of art – those that were seemingly doomed to be lost forever – were sent for restoration. And they continue to be sent here to this day.

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Another aspect of the workshop's activities is the ongoing and meticulous training of interns and apprentices, many of whom are students in faculties of restoration at Russian universities or employees at the restoration workshops of the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the State Hermitage Museum and other museums.

16 November 2015

Тема программы - курс на импортозамещение в искусстве. Реставраторы разрабатывают новые технологии, художники переходят на отечественные холсты и краски, а памятники архитектуры восстанавливают всем народом.

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It is here that the most difficult and destroyed works of art – those that were seemingly doomed to be lost forever – were sent for restoration. And they continue to be sent here to this day

29 March 2018

В дни школьных каникул Центр имени Грабаря посетили учащиеся сектора Аничкова лицея Санкт-Петербургского Дворца творчества юных. 

14 December 2016

14 декабря в 16:00 в выставочном зале Центра имени Грабаря состоялся доклад археолога, художника-реставратора Центра подводных исследований Русского географического общества Романа Прохорова "ПОДВОДНЫЕ АРХЕОЛОГИЧЕСКИЕ ИССЛЕДОВАНИЯ В ФИНСКОМ ЗАЛИВЕ. Изучение и реставрация памятников".

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