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Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s Sugar Bowl

Our conservators have been hard at work preparing objects for exhibition in advance of our building’s opening in fall 2014. Susan Costello, Projects Conservator in our Objects Lab, shared with us one of the impressive treatments she recently completed on a sugar bowl from our coffee and tea service set by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. The pictures here document the process from start to finish.

Costello first needed to remove a coat of lacquer that had yellowed, and then to lightly polish the object’s surface to remove any tarnish. She also needed to restore the bowl’s missing handle by taking a two-piece mold from the remaining handle to cast a replacement. This piece was gilded, toned with paint that matched the original, and attached to the bowl.


  • 01 – 05 Wilhelm Wagenfeld, sugar bowl, from Coffee and Tea Service: 5-Piece, c. 1924–25, Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum. Photos: Susan Costello.