‘Ronda ware’ by Thomas Forester and Sons Ltd, Phoenix works, Longton, England. Private collection, Melbourne


These pictures show the before and after treatment images of a British ceramic, ‘Phoenix Jardinière’ (Rhonda-ware), manufactured by Thomas Forester and Sons Ltd of the Phoenix works, Longton, England. The Phoenix works plant was in operation in northern England, operated by Thomas Forester and Sons Ltd, from 1883 – 1959. The plant was considered among the most important pottery establishments in the area, producing a large number of products. These included cabinet ware ‘jardinières’ (pots or urns), which were made with considerable skill.
This ceramic is wheel-thrown and hand painted.


The vessel was broken into one large section and 24 smaller pieces of varying size. There were also a number of very small fragments. Initial assembly revealed that at least one or two major pieces from the body were missing.
The surface is glazed with a fine crazing overall. Some sections of the glaze were poorly attached and flaking, particularly along break edges, where some of the glaze had been lost.
The interior was dirty, containing soil and water staining.


The vessel was dry surface cleaned to remove all superficial grime. Wet cleaning was undertaken in the interior to remove staining, however the stain had become ingrained and was only partially reduced.
A dry run of the order of assembly was undertaken, prior to adhesion of the fragments using an epoxy adhesive (Hyxtal). Visible cracks and losses (some quite large over the body and around the rim) were filled with an acrylic filler and shaped by carving and sanding with fine micro-fibre sanding cloths to fit the area of loss and to smooth surface. The filled losses were inpainted using acrylic paints to reintegrate with surrounding colours and design. Varnish was used to match the level of gloss of the fills to the original surface.


Figure 1

Before conservation treatment, large fragment of vessel



Figure 2

Before conservation treatment, smaller fragments of vessel





Figure 3

During conservation treatment, assembly of fragments, prior to adhesion






Figure 4

After conservation treatment. Assembly and adhesion of broken fragments, with filling and inpainting to reintegrate losses

If anyone in Australia gets to see this blog, here are the organisation’s details who did such a fantastic job on the pot.

Our Services

CCMC has provided a range of commercial art conservation and restoration programs since 1989. Programs include conservation treatments and restoration of all types of materials: paintingsworks on paperphotographsbooks;framestextiles; organic materials (such as leather, wood, plant fibres etc.) and inorganic materials (such as ceramics, metals, glass etc.); archaeological materials; architectural projectscollection surveys and development of conservation strategy plans and disaster preparedness planstechnical analysis; research and training programs.

CCMC has one of the best-equipped commercial laboratories in , with access to a wide range of analytical equipment and expertise at The University of Melbourne. The building is purpose built for cultural collections with temperature and humidity control and 24-hour on-site security, to ensure your artwork is in optimum care. Clients’ objects are covered under the University’s insurance while the objects are on CCMC premises. With access to a loading dock and large goods lift, we are able to accommodate very large items for treatment, such as over-sized paintings and sculptures.

We are an Approved Service Provider for the Australian Antique and Art Dealers Association.

Our Clients

CCMC provides conservation services to the University of Melbourne’s Cultural Collections and provides commercial conservation programs for individuals and organisations outside the University.

Our client base includes: national, state, regional and rural public collection and cultural organisations; amateur collecting societies and museums; commercial galleries; corporate collections; and private collections. Clients of CCMC are located throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Our Staff

CCMC-Conservation Services has a team of experienced professional staff who are members of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials and abide by the AICCM code of ethics and code of practice. A number of staff are professional members of the AICCM, having undertaken a peer review process. The CCMC also has a commitment to the future of the profession by providing internships for recent graduates of The University of Melbourne’s Conservation Masters program, mentoring them so they are better equipped to work in the profession.

Our large team of staff means that we are able to respond quickly to clients demands and complete treatments in tight deadlines, when required. This aspect of our service is particularly relevant when responding to disasters, auction dates and exhibition programs.