Paintings will be cleaned using chemicals, and scribbles on the walls will be covered by patch plastering work

Years of dust and smoke that have masked the paintings on the walls and ceiling of Tipu Sultan’s summer palace in Bangalore may finally be cleaned up, while portions of the wall vandalised with graffiti could also receive much-needed attention.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which protects the 18th Century monument, will take up chemical cleaning of the paintings. The scribbles on the walls will be covered by patch plastering work.

Protected monument

Located in the busy Kalasipalya area, the wooden edifice built in Indo-Islamic style, is a protected monument along with the nearby fort and dungeon.

The chemical wash is expected to brighten the paintings at the palace, most of which are vivid floral designs in water and vegetable colour.

Conservation wing

The process will be done by the ASI’s Mysore-based chemical conservation wing.

“Chemical wash was conducted on a small test area about five years ago. The painting has not changed much since then,” a senior ASI official said. He explained that it was a slow process that was dependent on humidity and dust, among other factors.

Besides, structural conservation work has to be completed before chemical wash is taken up.

An eyesore

However, this will do little to address the damage to paintings from scribbles and scratches.

“If the graffiti has to be removed, restoration of paintings has to be taken up. This is nearly impossible. It is difficult to maintain the same quality of painting and sourcing raw materials is highly impossible,” the ASI source said.

Instead, patch plastering work could be taken up to remove the eyesore in some spots.

“We will attempt to fill the scribbled portions with the patch work.”

Public office

The official claimed: “The palace was a public office before it was handed over to us in the 1950s. Much of the graffiti is from that period.” It was this sort of vandalism that had led the ASI to hire private security guards at the palace.

“We do not encourage visitors to stay on the palace premises for long,” another official said.

Colour washing of pillars with a protective coating and replacing some wooded portions that have been damaged by the elements too are on the agenda.