Carved Marble Fragment
5 fragments of an enriched decorative moulding with leaf and beed-and-reel motifs from a Corinthian entablature.
From pages 52-54 in Krotzer, Dorothy Stewart (2001). St. Alphonsus Church, New Orleans, Louisiana: Documentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Interior Finishes. (Masters Thesis):
Although the cornice itself was inaccessible during the on site investigation, representative pieces of the cornice which had fallen from a damaged portion of the wall, were collected and examined in the laboratory. Although not all of the cornice moldings could be examined, the cornice’s overall appearance can be approximated through the investigation of those sections that were available.
Like the rest of the church’s interior, the cornice was originally finished in a simple fashion with only a few details treated ornately. Although some flat background areas were first treated or primed with a waxy, orange-brown finish, the majority of the elements examined were initially finished in a matte, warm cream color.
The cream color varies slightly from one element to the next, occasionally appearing a bit more pink or more brown. This variation in color may have been intentional or it could be that this finish has aged inconsistently.
An ornate original treatment was found on only two elements of the cornice: the ovolo and bead-and-reel moldings. On the ovolo molding above the dentils, traces of bright yellow undercoat and metallic gold were found. (See Figure 25) These applied finishes, which were found directly on the white plaster, indicate a campaign of gilded banding along the edges of the molding—the yellow layer being a preparatory size and the thin metallic layer being gold leaf. A similar gilding campaign was found on the bead and reel molding of the cornice, which was entirely gilded. The cornice and the plaster door surrounds in the altar area, which share the same decorative moldings, appear to have been treated in a similar fashion. They are both finished in a cream color and both have occasional gilded elements, including a bead-and-reel molding finished enUrely in metallic gold.
Marble Fragment (“Or Crystaline Limestone”)
From Lynch (2009): “From initial observation, the red color seems to indicate that the clay came from the Mississippi River. The brick was recovered from a brick stable on the property that was built in 1854. The brick does not have a brickmaker’s stamp, although it is likely that the brick is the same age as the stable. This sample is a regular in shape brick, has sharp-pressed edges, and is struck from header to header across the bedding face. The strike marks on the brick indicate that it was struck with a metal striker, which is consistent with the period. The presence of sand in the surface indicates that sand was used as a molding lubricant. Given these characteristics, the brick appears to have been made through extrusion using a stiff-mud machine.”