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Six years into a decade-long restoration effort, Italian authorities partially reopened Rome's magnificent Domus Aurea (House of Gold) on Sunday, Reuters reports. The 300-room structure, now mostly underground, was built by Emperor Nero after fires decimated much of Rome in 64 AD. It takes its name from the gold leaf that once covered many of its walls.

The site was initially opened to visitors in 1999. However, structural issues forced it to be closed to the public in 2005. It briefly reopened in 2007 but was then closed again after several cave-ins were reported. Visitors will now be able to enter the site on the weekends.

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art will regild the thirteen-foot sculpture Diana (1892-94), which resides in the its Great Stair Hall. The work, which is by the Beaux-Arts sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), once sat atop Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The undertaking was made possible by a grant from Bank of America through its Global Art Conservation Project and will be helmed by the institution’s Conservation Department and the department of American Art. The regilding is expected to take four months to complete. and will require corrosion removal, surface preparation and the laying of 180 square feet of gold leaf. This process will be followed by any adjustments necessary to improve the appearance and lighting of the sculpture. The work was significantly eroded while on view at Madison Square Garden and cleaning and repair efforts that took place before the sculpture was installed in 1932 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art added to the damage.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will document each step of the conservation and regilding process so that the public can monitor Diana’s progress.

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Monday, 24 December 2012 13:06

Tiffany Reading Room, a Hidden Gem, Restored

The Tiffany Reading room located in Irvington, New York’s Town Hall opened this month after years of restoration. Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the renowned artist, decorator, and glassmaker, the Tiffany Reading Room boasts lettering gilded in gold leaf, glass mosaics, and turtleback lanterns.

Louis Tiffany (1848-1933), the son of Tiffany & Co. founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902), was a long-time resident of both New York City and Irvington; an affluent suburb located just 20 miles north of midtown Manhattan. Charles Tiffany served as a trustee of Irvington’s Mental and Moral Improvement Society, which donated the land on which the Town Hall was built in 1892. The Society’s only stipulation was that the building should include a free reading room for the public’s enjoyment. In keeping with this request, Helen Gould, the daughter of railroad magnate Jay Gould, donated $10,000 to have the room designed by Louis Tiffany.

Once a majestic and beautifully decorated space, the Reading Room had fallen into disrepair by the late 1990s. Inspired by a letter from Tiffany’s great-grandson, Irvington residents formed the Tiffany Room Committee and embarked on a $280,000, eight-year-long restoration. The result of their efforts is a Reading Room that has been returned to its original grandeur, featuring restored mosaics and wall sconces and tables and chairs by Tiffany Studios.  

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