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Wednesday, May 15 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Book and Paper) It All Comes out in the Wash, or Does It? A Comparative Study of Washing Treatments on a Group of 18th-Century Engravings

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Recent developments in the use of polysaccharide gels and washing solutions have expanded conservators’ choices for treating paper-based materials beyond traditional aqueous immersion washing. A project to treat European prints depicting African scenes, in the collections of the Library of Congress, provided an opportunity to compare several cleaning protocols: washing by gellan gum, washing in conductivity-based solutions and chelators identified by Richard Wolbers, and washing in calcium-hydroxide-adjusted alkaline water. The goal of the treatment was to reduce staining, overall discoloration, and acidity in nine engravings on eighteenth-century laid paper supports. The prints were documented before, during and after treatment with digital photography, UV-induced visible fluorescence imaging, colorimetry (CIELAB), and reflectance spectroscopy (Fiber Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy or FORS). Conservators and scientists utilized FORS, a sensitive and non-destructive optical sensing technique, to measure the color of the paper before and after treatment. The results of FORS measurements were correlated with brightness-meter and spectroscopy readings, to obtain ∆E data for comparison with the traditional measurements. This presentation will compare and contrast the results of the three treatment protocols, outline practical advantages and disadvantages of each, and discuss the application, versatility and usefulness of FORS to evaluate the treatment outcomes.

avatar for Grace Walters

Grace Walters

Student, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department State University of New York College at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo State)
Grace a ended Clemson University in South Carolina where she earned a BA in Architecture, spent a summer at the Universite de la Sorbonne in Paris, and a semester in Genoa, Italy. She had a wide range of pre-program experiences including a paper conservation internship at the National... Read More →


Claire Dekle

Senior Book Conservator, Library of Congress
Claire Dekle is a Senior Book Conservator at the Library of Congress. In addition to treatment responsibilities for bound and unbound manuscript and printed materials, she serves as a Conservation Liaison to the African and Middle Eastern Division and the Serials Division and is a... Read More →
avatar for Claire Valero

Claire Valero

Fellow, Harry Ransom Center
Claire Valero received an MA in Preservation and Conservation of Fine Arts on Paper in ENSAV La Cambre, Brussels.She graduated in June 2015 and completed internships with the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona and with Graham Bignell in London as part of her studies. As... Read More →
avatar for Julie Biggs

Julie Biggs

Conservator, Library of Congress
Julie Biggs is a Senior Paper Conservator at the Library of Congress, where she has focused on treatment of manuscripts and works on paper, led iron-gall ink treatment research, and managed large-scale collection stabilization and re-housing projects. She previously worked as a senior... Read More →
avatar for Sylvia Albro-[PA]

Sylvia Albro-[PA]

Senior Paper Conservator, Library of Congress
Sylvia Albro was graduated from the New York State University Graduate Program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works in Cooperstown New York in 1982. She completed a graduate internship in conservation of works of art on paper at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco... Read More →

Tana Villafana

Research Chemist, Library of Congress
Tana Elizabeth Villafana graduated in March 2015 with a PhD in Chemistry from Duke University. Her thesis work detailed development of an ultrafast nonlinear laser optical microscopy technique as an application for providing 3d images of cultural heritage objects in-situ (and non-invasively... Read More →

Wednesday May 15, 2019 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Earth Ballroom A Earth Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Book and Paper
  • Track Book and Paper
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Grace Walters, Sylvia Albro, Julie Biggs, Claire Dekle, Claire Valero, Tana Villafana
  • Abstract ID 19127
  • Tags washing,gellan gum,chelators,conductivity,FORS,