In-House Conservation Laboratory at Mysore Palace soon

Expert Panel’s plan to protect, maintain precious artefacts in Palace

Mysuru:  An In-House Conservation Laboratory to protect and maintain various artefacts in the historic Mysore Palace will be  set up soon.

This decision was taken at an Experts Committee meeting headed by former Additional Chief Secretary Chiranjiv Singh here yesterday at the Mysore Palace Board premises. It was decided to set up the In-House Conservation Laboratory and the establishment of Structural Conservation Laboratory.

The Committee includes scientists, research experts, conservationists, archaeologists and administrators. The more than century-old Palace houses some of the rarest collections of oil paintings, stuffed animals, metallic and wooden carvings, decorated pillars, stained glass and domes and all these have to be preserved for posterity.

A decision was taken to prepare a detailed project report and a five-year action plan by the Committee of experts. For instance, the work on the stained glass used in Kalyana Mantap and the private Durbar Hall is very delicate. The work should be taken up only after taking the opinion of the technical experts and Heritage Department officials, the Committee suggested.

Speaking to Star of Mysore here this morning, Mysore Palace Board Deputy Director T.S. Subramanya said, “The sculptures, the rarest paintings including that of Raja Ravi Varma’s famous one of Seetha Swayamvara, stained glass, the pavement tiles and the domes are all very unique. Some of the tiles are broken and there is water seepage where the domes are located. The experts have gathered here and they are involved in a two-day marathon meeting to come up with ideas regarding the laboratory.”

According to Subramanya, Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former Head, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore; Dr. Selvarehai, Senior Conservationist, National Research Centre on Litchi, Advisor to Archaeology Department, Chennai; Dr. Sukhvir Singh, former Principal Secretary, CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), NPL (National Physical Laboratory) New Delhi; Dr. Vandana Singh, Research Expert and former Conservator of National Museum and Prof. G.S. Suresh, senior Structural Engineer and Dean, National Institute of Engineering are the experts in the Committee, who are participating in the meeting.

The idea to set up such a laboratory was first mooted by former Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru, Selva Kumar’s wife S. Padma Priya, a Research Scholar and Conservationist, said Subramanya.    

Dr. Sukhvir Singh and Dr. Vandana Singh are going to go into many aspects of preservation to prepare the DPR and suggest an action plan for the next five years, he said.

Asked whether there was any other laboratory of this kind, he said that in South India there is no laboratory now and everything has to be taken to National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property, Lucknow. “If we have an in-house laboratory then we can maintain all the artefacts in good condition. For instance, if there is a fungus in the paintings, with the help of the researchers, it can be removed,” he said.

Others who were present at the meeting included DC and Palace Board Executive Officer D. Randeep, R.S. Vinod, Syed Samiulla, G. Asha and Mysore Palace Board Deputy Director T.S. Subramanya.

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