Conserving the Tiled Eagle – As complicated as a Sudoku puzzle?

The Tiled Eagle

The German mural ‘Tiled Eagle’ which has been at the museum since 1919.

If you’ve visited IWM London in the past few weeks, you may have seen me around. I’ve been doing some conservation work to prepare many of the objects in the large exhibits gallery for their moves in the autumn. Some of the objects I’ve already worked on are the shells and guns including the French 75mm Field Gun.

Over the next few days I’m going to be working on the Tiled Eagle on the first floor. It’s a large framed wall mural from a German residence in Baghdad facing the Tigris river front. After Baghdad was captured in 1917, Lieutenant-General Sir William R Marshall, Commander-in-Chief of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force ordered it removed. It was sent to IWM in 1919.

There are 127 tiles in the mural and when you look more closely you can see evidence of old conservation work. One of the challenges of this particular object is that different parts of it have deteriorated more quickly than others, so we need to monitor each individual tile and the adhesive that holds it together to prevent any further loss or damage.

The easiest way I’ve found of doing this is by using a grid. It ends up looking as complicated as a Sudoku puzzle. But actually, it is really straightforward and keeps things organised for tracking our conservation work.

We’ll be doing some of our conservation work on Friday 3, Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 between 10am and 12pm, so come say hello  ask us questions about conservation the Tiled Eagle.

If you can’t make it, you can leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll do a round-up of answers on the blog later next week.

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