BLUE FOR THE UNION & GREEN FOR IRELAND
The first step in the process was to test the flag's dyes, pigments, and stains for solubility in aqueous and solvent solutions. The flag was then removed from its fabric backing by carefully clipping all the previous repair threads. After removing a white muslin liner, what had appeared to be a single piece of green velvet fabric backing turned out to be just a border with several added strips of black velvet fabric filling in the hidden space underneath the flag. It is believed that the seams and the bunching of the black velvet fabric were responsible for the uneven appearance of the flag and for some of the shattering of the silk fabric. The velvet was also disintegrating into silk dust, darkening the flag with soot-like powder.
A layer of synthetic net was placed on the obverse (face) of the flag. Basting stitches were used to hold all layers (net, flag, green velvet border and black velvet interior fabric, and muslin lining) in place. After the ensemble was turned over, the basting threads were cut and the velvet and muslin layers removed. A layer of synthetic net was placed on the reverse (back) of the flag and the two layers of synthetic net were basted around the flag to form a supporting envelope.
All surfaces were gently but thoroughly vacuumed. Placing a screen over the surface of the flag prevented small particles of the fabric from being sucked into the vacuum.
- 19 -