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Edward Lange Watercolor Conserved

The Huntington Historical Society received funding from the 2011 Conservation Treatment Program administered by the Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) located in Elmsford, NY.  The program “provides support for treatment procedures to aid in stabilizing and preserving objects in collections of museums, historical, and cultural organizations in New York State.”

An Edward Lange watercolor in our collection was in need of conservation.  The 1873 image is that of the Charles D. Cheshire House which “stood along Clay Pitts Road in Commack…The view is one of Lange’s earliest…The Cheshire farm was not architecturally remarkable, but it provided Lange with a suitable subject to practice his early art.” (Failey, Dean F. & Zachary Studenroth, Edward Lange’s Long Island, Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, NY, 1979. p. 30).  German immigrant Edward Lange (1846-1912) arrived at Commack, Long Island, NY ca. 1870 where the family had purchased farmland.  Believed to have been a self-taught artist, his scenes of home, farm, and town provide an important visual record of the appearance of 19th century Long Island.  The society has a collection of twenty pieces of Edward Lange’s works.

The painting was taken to the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, MA for evaluation.  An application was submitted to the Conservation Treatment Program and our request for $2195.00 was approved. 

The before photograph shows the watercolor mounted to a brittle and acidic mounting board.  A light color coating had been applied to the painting resulting in a grey appearance.  The stains are from several sources: adhesives used to repair tears, water damage, and past attempts at retouching.




The conservators at NEDCC first reduced the surface soil using dry cleaning techniques Then the object was removed from its acidic mounting board.  After testing for solubility the watercolor was immersed in a filtered water bath to clean the paper, reduce acidity, reduce stains and reduce the surface coating.  Tears were mended with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste.  The painting was then mounted in an archival window mat and reframed using ultra-violet filtering glazing.



The society would like to thank the Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s Conservation Treatment Program for funding this project.  Programs like this are vital in providing professional assistance to institutions like ours.  We would also like to thank the conservators at NEDCC for their expertise.