Contributions to the 7th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium 29g31 August 2012 Brisbane, Australia
This collaborative research and treatment project on the in-depth treatment of two eighteenth century Dutch atlases has involved the skills of book and paper conservators Guy Caron, Nicole Ellis, Dana Kahabka and Cathryn Bartley.These two bound volumes in the original cream vellum with gilt tooling have paper charts and maps guarded within.The charts are beautifully engraved with large decorative cartouche, compass roses and rhumb lines. Each part commences with a lavish hand-coloured and gilded title page. The treatment has been informed by detailed inspection of the condition of the binding structure of the volumes, the maps on their guards and the pigments. To facilitate the in-depth treatment of the maps, over thirty-six were removed from the volumes to carry out humidification and flattening of distortion and creases, tear repairs and most importantly the repair of areas affected and embrittled by the copper pigment. Areas of copper pigment were confirmed through the use of x-ray fluorescence analysis, and this information enabled the development of a treatment protocol.As water accelerates damage to paper affected by copper pigments, a repair method was devised using a gelatine film adhesive on Japanese repair tissue that could be applied with a minimal amount of water. Once repaired the charts are re-hinged onto their original guards and attached back into the volumes. The x-ray fluorescence analysis had the added benefit of providing additional information on the pigments used by eighteenth century cartographers, which included vermillion, lead white and lead tin yellow, all of which are completely contemporary with the making of the maps and charts. To conserve the bindings, treatments included the deconstruction of the structure of the books.Text blocks and covers where separated and treated separately with appropriate methods using reversible techniques and materials sympathetic with the original.