Day 61 - 24 November
On Friday, Karen managed to reassemble all 101 silver leaves onto the 20th century frame. Heavy duty rubber wheels have also been fitted to the frame so that the mechanism has a smoother ride when it is moved.
The palladium used to cover the reflective backing plates has a duller finish than silver . This is more in keeping with an eighteenth century finish and it also creates a desired watery effect. Palladium was chosen instead of silver because it is a noble metal, and so stable. Also, silver would start to tarnish almost immediately whereas the palladium will stay as it is indefinitely apart from small unavoidable repairs.
Today will see Matthew and Ken replace the glass rods. This is something of a challenge in one day but the finished effect, now that the rods have been cleaned, will be stunning. Karen will document this entire process.
Day 62 - 25 November
Yesterday Matthew and Ken replaced the glass rods at the front of the mechanism. Each glass rod has got an individual bracket which has to be adjusted to fit in the correct stations on the new backing plates.
Today Matthew and Karen will continue working on replacing the remaining glass rods at the back of the mechanism.
Day 63 - 26 November
Yesterday Matthew and Karen managed to finish assembling ¾ of the glass rods. Each cap has to be heated up and centralised so that the bearings run concentrically.
Today they will finish this time consuming task and test all the rods are working smoothly in preparation for tomorrow night’s performance at the Silver Swan Soirée.
Day 64 - 27 November
Yesterday all remaining glass rods were assembled and tested to make sure they work accordingly. The body was replaced and the Silver Swan is looking as glamorous as ever.
Today sees the end of the major conservation project. Being his final day, Matthew will run some final tests to make sure all is well before attaching the fish. Tonight’s performance (see reception for details) will give an exclusive opportunity to learn about the intricacies of the project coupled with its first performance to an audience since the overhaul.
Over the next 2 to 3 months Karen will observe the Silver Swan for snagging faults and provide solutions to allow the mechanism to run smoothly.
The Bowes Museum would like to say a massive thank you to Matthew, Karen, Ken, Emma and Miles for all their hard work.