The Painting's Future
The painting is almost nineteen hundred years old and should have, with care, an indefinite life ahead of it; a far longer life than that of any particular display or indeed of the museum itself. The act of restoration should not be regarded as a definitive act but merely as one incident in the painting's history. The painting is likely to be subjected to a number of remountings and further restorations and every conservator that works on it is likely to find fault with the methods and materials employed by their predecessors and all of them with the original restoration.

The whole conservation and restoration procedure was designed so that a reversal of the process would be as easy to achieve as possible, given that the greater part of the mortar layers had been removed.

Being aware of all this and recognising that when the time comes for the next major work on the painting it is quite likely that the written records may not be readily available, it was decided that all restoration work should involve the use of synthetic materials so that a future restorer would be able to easily distinguish between the original Roman material and the modern substitutes used in the restoration.

It is recommended that any reversal of the restoration process should bear the following points in mind.

As the repainting was carried out using water colours, wiping with a soft wet cloth should remove it without any difficulty.

It is recommended that at this stage that the Roman material be faced-up using a water soluble adhesive as all the interventionist material material is synthetic and solvent based.

Removal of the synthetic intonaco. As the synthetic intonaco is a PVA based material (see above and the Materials Appendix), the application of a suitable solvent should soften the material so that it can be removed.

The synthetic arriccio should be removed in a similar manner.

At this stage it should be possible to to identify the different panels so as to allow their separation and removal from the mild steel frame.

In the adjacent illustration can be seen the layers which make up each panel of the painting. From left to right the layers consist of (1), a 6mm.layer of plaster and mortar, (2), a release layer of 6mm.polyurethane foam, and finally (3), a sandwich of glass fibre, polyurethane foam and glass fibre which hold the stainless steel bolts that fasten the panels to the mild steel frame.
Although the combination of layers of polyurethane foam and glass fibre provide a strong and rigid support for the painting, the polyurethane foam is, itself, quite soft and easily cut. It is suggested that a cut should be made through the release layer allowing the glass fibre and foam sandwich to be disposed of. If the the panel is then placed face down the remains of the release layer can be scraped off revealing the back surface of the synthetic mortar. This can be softened with a suitable solvent and removed revealing a fine layer glass fibre tissue, when this is, in its turn, removed the Roman material will be exposed for remounting.