Restoration of Bossons

 

 

A few notes on restoring Bossons that may help. I am definitely not an expert in this subject.

Poor quality restorations can adversely affect the value of Bossons.

 

Touching-up of Paintwork
1.0 - Bossons were originally painted with water based paints. This sealed and strengthened the surface.
1.1 - Acrylic Paints are mainly used in the restoration of Bossons.
1.2 - The actual paint used by Bossons was made by 'Daler Rowney'. The actual product was 'Rowney Cryla Artists Acrylic Colour'
1.3 - At the Bossons Factory they coated the finished heads with a Very fine coating of "Winsor & Newton"  Acrylic Matt Varnish, if the coating was too thick then it would causes a white film after it dries
1.4 - Even 'Poster Paints' can be useful in providing certain colour shades.
1.5 - Try to limit the repair strictly to the damaged area. It is very easy to start opening up the repair to a larger area, therefore making it more noticeable.
1.6 - Expert restorers can successful repaint a complete Bossons. This is definitely not recommended for the amateur.
1.7 - The painting process at Bossons was to usually paint 10 heads at a time, and painting on each colour allowing the paint to dry in between each head. There were about 40 people painting.

This is a cardboard lid from an original box of paints that came from the Bossons factory 

(click on the photo to enlarge)

 
Repairing damaged Gypsum Plaster
2.0 - Some Collectors use simple household 'Wall Plaster Filler' (ie - Polyfilla) for repairing minor chalkware damage. Wall tile grout gives a finer finish.
2.1 - Dental plaster are much finer and give better detail.
2.2 - The finer the repair Filler, then the better the detail.
2.3 - Plastercine is used by some Collectors to take simple repair mouldings. I have never found this method to be very successful.  
2.4 - For more advanced repair mouldings use Silicone, Latex or Alginate to make the mould and a Dental 'Casting Plaster' for the repair casting. Release agents are used with some of these products.
2.5 - Another method is to moisten an old Bossons (ie - one that is beyond repair). Scrape off the moistened white chalk and use this for the repair. A single Bossons can prove enough chalk for many years of restoration. This suggested method came from an ex-employee of Bossons. It is not a method that I have tried.  

2.6 - In the UK products like Alginate, which is probably preferable for mould making, can be obtained from a company called 'Tiranti'. They are located in Theale, Reading and their website address is at www.tiranti.co.uk

  Bossons moulds salvaged from the factory 
General Restoration Notes
3.0 - It is not unusual to see commonly available' Bossons for sale that have been completely repainted with gloss paint. In my opinion these Bossons are worthless, as the cost of restoring would far outweigh their value.
3.1 - Poor repairs can devalue a Bossons.

Bossons Paintstress at work in the Bossons Factory (Photograph taken August 1995)