Their popularity was assured by their use in such prestigious buildings as the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as their remarkable practicality, and by the 1890s they were an essential feature in the most ordinary terraced houses. Encaustic Victorian Tiles also run throughout the Palace of Westminster. From Westminster Hall, via St Stephen’s Hall, and via the circulation routes to and from the Central Lobby to the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
In the autumn of 2017, DBR Conservation inspected the damaged Victorian tiles within a private front hall in northeast London, which were dulled by inappropriate cleaning products as well loosened from their bedding mortar. In addition, some tiles were missing, chipped or cracked.
The treatments included: taking moulds of missing tiles and making resin replacements colour matched to the originals with in stone dusts and pigments, recording and lifting all loose tiles and re-bedding with a lime mortar of NHL, Portland stone dust, washed sand, Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA), cleaning tiles with warm water and non-ionic surfactant to remove surface grime, and ‘touching-in’ any small areas of loss with a colour matched palette of potassium silicate paints. Finally, the rich patina of the tiles was partially returned to the dulled surface with different combinations of microcrystalline, carnauba and bee waxes.
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