'Re' Construction of the Restored Bodice

Julie Cassels 12 years ago

Trials (and Tribulations)

I have just put up a set of images on the site which I think of as a ‘sketch’ book. They are the majority of the work I have been doing so far on the residency. To fill in the gaps though, I am working on a digital reconstruction of a 17th century bodice from the Gallery of Costume Platt Hall, in Manchester. I was fortunate enough to start the first phase of this project in 2008/9 as part of the AA2A scheme and now that the digital restoration phase is complete I have been able to pursue the second phase of the project. This phase is the reconstruction of the restored bodice, using the digital print facilities available at MMU. I think this along with the images really gives a sense of where I’m up to…..therefore skip the rest if you don’t need the ‘tribulations’ bit.


There have been times when this project has seemed near on impossible, as my initial 'rough draft' blog post records. It is easy to lose perspective when you are a long way from the initial creative burst that starts a lengthy and detailed project such as this. On the positive side I am closer that I have ever been to completing this. The digital restoration is complete, as long as I don’t stray far from my rule that in the restoration I don’t enhance anything that exists on the original bodice. However looking at the detail there are always ways that the end print could be improved.

The digital prints are now as close as possible to the original (that is non-faded), colour and I have created 2D versions of the back and front as stretched canvases which have been put along side the original bodice to check the size, colour etc. of the restored versions.

The Gallery of Costume is looking to display the original bodice with the restoration along side it by March 2012. I have been to see the display unit that is going to be used and there seems to be only top suspension possible given the construction of the case. I am incorporating these details into the design of the bodice’s final form and will probably allow for more than one final outcome.

The main consideration in the project is that the restored, reconstructed object will be displayed along side the original, making the final form critical as it will have a direct comparison. Other pieces that I have created in this way stand on the own without a reference to the original form.

The 3D version of the object needs to be ‘constructed’ but the effects of ‘fore-shortening’ mean that there are parts of the object which do not appear in the correct form and it is necessary to generate them. The ‘final’ outcome will be more than one 3D version of the restored, reconstructed bodice to enable a curatorial choice of display method.