The Conservation-Restoration of Two Human Hair Wigs

  • Kimberleigh Collins-Peynaud Objects Conservator in Private Practice, Utah


Through a case study format, this paper presents the examination, technical fabrication and conservation of two human hair wigs belonging to a late 17th century Holy Child from Spain/Naples (?) and an 18th century Holy Child from Spain, elements frequently used on Baroque devotional sculptures found in Spain and Italy. One wig, which sits atop a Holy Child’s head held in place by a nail, consists of an iron wire structure on which curled human hair is attached and secured by cotton thread. The other wig consists of a fabric base on which hair is attached by cotton thread. These objects, belonging to the Jacquinot Collection of the Musée d’art and d’histoire de Chaumont, were found in an alarming state of conservation. The structure was unstable (breaking hair possibly due in part to the presence of an unknown substance, insect infestation and rigidity of materials) and the surface was very dirty (dust, insect carcasses and grime). Because of the close contact with iron and cotton, the treatment of the hair had to be approached with particular caution in order to avoid introducing water onto the surface of the iron and cotton. Restoring shape to the curled hairs also proved to be a delicate process. In order to better understand and conserve these objects, further research on fabrication techniques, regional styles and conservation treatment of human hair would be very beneficial to conservators.
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Author Biography

Kimberleigh Collins-Peynaud, Objects Conservator in Private Practice, Utah
Kimberleigh Collins-Peynaud is an AIC PA independent objects conservator currently working in Utah. After earning her B.A. in Visual Arts from Rutgers University in 2001, she moved to France where she obtained another B.A. in Art History from the Université François Rabelais and her specialized degree (DNSEP) in the conservation of sculpture (Diplôme national supérieur d’expression plastique, option art, mention conservation-restauration des oeuvres sculptées) from the Ecole supérieure de beaux-arts de Tours in 2007. Since then, she has worked freelance in France and America on a wide variety of sculptures and objects from museum collections, churches, historical monuments, and private clients. Notable internships she completed in America took place at the Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City), the Western Archeological and Conservation Center (Tucson), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In France, she has worked on monuments such as the basilica of St. Denis and the Thermes de Cluny du Musée du Moyen Age Thermes, and for many churches and museums, such as the Musée Rodin, the Musée de la Marine and the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Chaumont. She is currently working for Utah museums and private clients.
How to Cite
COLLINS-PEYNAUD, Kimberleigh. The Conservation-Restoration of Two Human Hair Wigs. Selected Proceedings of Advances in Conservation, [S.l.], nov. 2017. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 09 june 2023.