Conservation of a WWII Supermarine Spitfire section wing

Creator: Eve Paillaux, Sotiris Bampitzaris, Jane Echinard, Gilles Baron, Cesar Escobar-Claros, Magali Brunet, Luc Robbiola, and Elodie Guilminot

Source: Conservar Património

Publisher: ARP – Associação Profissional de Conservadores-Restauradores de Portugal

Rights: Approval to upload a pdf of each article to the Big Stuff website provided by Associação Profissional de Conservadores-restauradores de Portugal, with an acknowledgement that they were published by Conservar Património and the link to the Conservar Património issue they are in.

Date: 28/09/2023


Keywords: WWII cultural heritage, Aluminium alloys, Supermarine Spitfire, Cleaning treatment, Conservation-restoration, Archaeological artefact

Abstract: This study focuses on a WWII Supermarine Spitfire aircraft section wing conservation, salvaged from the seabed in 1988 and stored in a private garden. The object was in poor condition so decisions on the conservation, preservation or removal of parts of the original elements were needed. Firstly, the wing fragment was studied to determine its heritage interest and to assess its historical, industrial, technical and scientific values. This object will become a memorial to the pilot who died during the mission, in his hometown. The conservation project aims to find the best solution to both conservation priorities and exhibition needs. Based on cleaning tests on corroded, painted aluminium alloys carried out within the PROCRAFT Project, a treatment was determined. This case serves as an example of how the results of a European project can be implemented in a conservation-restoration process and how industrial conservation theory can be applied to archaeological artefacts.

Reference: Paillaux, E., Bampitzaris, S., Echinard, J., Baron, G., Escobar-Claros, C., Brunet, M., Robbiola, L., & Guilminot, E. (2023). Conservation of a WWII Supermarine Spitfire section wing. Conservar Património, 44, 238–252.

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