More conservation fascinations

Here are a couple of interesting conservation links.

First, something from our partner organisation Icon’s website about the treatment of a collection of Dutch and Flemish drawings.  These are in the British Museum. This article give you a sense of the level of care taken over treatment, and the different skills that a conservator needs to apply – aesthetic, craft, technical, scientific.

An agarose gel strip is used to remove methyl cellulose poultice residues on the verso of J.A. Backer’s (attributed to) Head of an Old Woman, c.1623-1651, (P&D 1897,0813.9(95)). © 2020 The Trustees of The British Museum.

And second, on the theme of fire damaged documents, something from the British Library about the treatment of Charlotte Canning’s diaries. It is totally conservation centred, so it’s all about the material of the documents, not their content. Which is frustrating, but also illuminating.

The primary aim of treatment was to make the diaries available for consultation by curators and researchers. But because the fire which caused the damage is an integral part of the diaries’ histories, and because it sheds light on the wider context of the Cannings’ lives in India, it was desirable that the evidence of the burn damage also be preserved. The conservation treatment therefore had to offset the risks posed by the burn damage while making sure the damage itself remained intact – an intriguing challenge!

Before treatment
After treatment

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