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Historic paintings saved from mold

February 24, 2009
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CHATTANOOGA, TN — Sixteen portraits of Circuit Court judges dating back to the late 1800s have been rescued from years-old creeping mold in the Hamilton County Courthouse, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The $7,000 project to restore the historic paintings began in 2001 when potential damage to the paintings was realized after work to clean and restore the century-old building started; money for the project was allocated by the Hamilton County Commission, the story stated.
Rieca Rousseau, a judicial administrative assistant, said: "They had green mustaches and green sideburns. It was pretty nasty."
Tracy Knauss, an image enhancement specialist, used a method to copy the old portraits while retaining their original characteristics, meaning the restored images actually are replicas, the story noted.
Knauss said: "I scanned each portrait then digitally removed the damaged spots. Then I printed the image on canvas. The textures are all there. They look like the original paintings."
A ceremony to hang all 16 paintings will be held at 11 a.m. March 12 in the Hamilton County Commission room, the story added.
According to the story, the restoration of the entire courthouse is expected to be completed by 2010.
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