Adding Ornamental Pattern to a Garment Medallion on the South-West Wall Based on Wilkinson's Watercolor Painting

Mar 28, 2021

Continued from PART EIGHT...

A dossier of archival photographs and watercolor paintings could be recovered during our extensive research, showing some exquisite details on the removed and/or damaged walls during the subsequent decades.

Although stylistically not entirely accurate, the information gained from these sources (most importantly the numerous watercolor paintings made by Wilkinson) could enhance the documentation in a meaningful way. However, no overall reconstruction of the scenes was planned simply because there was not enough data to be certain about the entire composition.

The South-West wall once held a magnificent mural depicting Roman courtiers above the imitation opus sectile dado that is today reduced to a few faint painted contours. The Survey’s recent high-resolution photographs provided the base for reconstruction. Before it was made part of the same set, Wilkinson’s relevant sketches were cropped and perspective corrected. The drawings provided the landmarks for the many sources' proper alignment, which were adjusted to match exactly.

Hence, the reconstruction was based on the actual features that once were seen on the wall. Although this hypothetical extension was created with the usual texture-based technique in mind, only one light gray tone represented the fresco expansion, along with a greatly simplified relief representation. Additionally, a worn, damaged surface had to be created on a separate layer to help the reconstructed areas blend in with the rest of the drawing.

In the end, contemporary remains could be introduced side-by-side with archival material in one homogeneous, seamlessly presented style providing the most comprehensive visual information about the frescoes.

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