Contributions to the 5th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium. Editors: Prue McKay and Alana Treasure. Canberra, ACT: AICCM (Inc.), 2008.
Paper conservators are often faced with deposits, accretions and marks on objects that can be difficult to identify by eye. Correct identification allows informed decisions to be made, answering questions such as: how could we remove this material? Is this material a health hazard? And how do we prevent this deposit from recurring? Recently two curious white deposits were encountered on two different types of objects in separate collections: an 18th century mezzotint print belonging to the National Gallery of Victoria, and several leatherbound books from the mid-1900s in a private collection. The deposits were visually quite different and the conservation concerns for each item were also distinct. The owner of the books was concerned that the material was a mould and therefore posed a health hazard, whereas the mezzotint was required for display, with the curators preferring to have the disfiguring white deposit removed. In both cases, instrumental analysis and research were undertaken to identify the deposits before making any decisions. This paper reports on the results of the analyses, conclusions reached about the nature of the deposits, treatments carried out and recommendations made.
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