Master thesis abstracts 2019 / publication information

Selina Dieter. Reducing local water stains on paper: Options and limitations of established and new methods in the context of the treatment of a large-format print. Significantly discolored local water stains on the large-format aquatint Medusa Head (1986) by Keith Haring led to a detailed examination of local aqueous treatment, illuminating also the long-term risks of latent new tide lines. Several different treatment techniques and modifications were tested using as mockups an artists’ paper stained with wood extract (mimicking the origin of the staining of the original print) and applying several stain extraction techniques. The rigid Nanorestore Gel® Dry (chemically cross-linked gel) and suction table techniques were used in these tests. Treatment of the original stain was carried out in several steps, using the suction table applicable with this water-absorbent, unsized intaglio printing paper and applying in a succession of cold and warm water with a small brush combined with hot steam and followed by controlled drying. This was followed by local bleaching with dilute hydrogen peroxide keeping within the originally stained area and combining this with an equally local alkaline reserve to stabilize the aesthetic and the material integrity achieved with this complex treatment. Nanorestore Gel® Dry gel was used effectively as local aqueous poultice to extract residual latent tide lines identified by their fluorescence under UVA radiation. The print was mounted on a honeycomb panel (Klug Conservation, puzzled pieces to achieve dimension) and framed in a sealed package in a customized frame.

Cosima Walter. Gilded paper: inserts and retouching via the example of a Japanese folding screen. One panel (0.6 x 1.7 m) of an early 20th-century Japanese folding screen (six panels, overall dimensions 3.6 x 1.7 m) was treated for severe mechanical damage on its recto and verso paper-covered sides. The painting of birds in foliage above a stream flowing between rocks was done in silver leaf and body colors and featured large areas of a leaf-gilded background. Long tears and large losses extended across the painting. The materials were examined and a treatment was developed that will be suitable also for the other five panels. The panels were constructed of a wooden lattice with several layers of ligneous paper below the painting, which is framed by a silk border. The verso grey-coated paper was woodblock-printed with a pattern. Several areas had already been restored in the past, resulting in stains. The breaks in the painting and verso paper covering were rejoined using temporary supports slid into place between the lattice and paper layers. The losses were filled with inserts that imitate the gilded but age-stained surface closely. Missing foliage parts were recreated with paper inserts adhered on these inserts.  

Leonie Müller. Conservation of a giant woodcut „Jan Hus“ from the workshop of Lukas Cranach at the Stadt- und Bergbaumuseum Freiberg. Supported by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung. See Blog for a detailed treatment description. The giant woodcut from the Lukas Cranach workshop (ca. 1590) featuring the full-length portrait of Jan Hus underwent a fundamental treatment to salvage this extremely damaged artwork. The print, made on 12 separate paper sheets adhered to each other still retained on what likely was an early canvas backing, formerly mounted on a wooden strainer and likely displayed over long time periods in a local church. Massive surface soiling was removed in several stages during wet cleaning after loose dirt had been removed in dry condition. The canvas was removed in one piece, verso soiling was removed, and many fragments were secured with adhesive bridges verso before an extended aqueous treatment was undertaken. It involved detergent, enzymes, and several stages of mechanically assisted cleaning baths, all of them conducted in shallow baths to keep the fragmented print together. This was finalized with an alkaline reserve and followed by a lining with Japanese paper. Large inserts were made within the image and along the paper edges and the print was mounted onto a honeycomb panel before final retouching completed the treatment. The print was mounted in a custom-prepared frame.

Luise Raab. Great work on a small format. Repair and adulteration of postage stamps. Forgeries of postage stamps have been for many decades a prevalent criminal activity that has generated intensive detective interest among stamp collectors. The methods of forgers included addition and subtraction of paper and media elements from damaged original stamps, and feature extremely detailed work that is difficult to detect. Several known forgeries are examined with different lighting conditions including MSI, and different forgery techniques are replicated on historical stamps made available for the purpose of revealing key features of forgery work.

Natascha Wichmann. Microfibrillated cellulose as repair material for tracing paper. In cooperation with The National Archives in London. Methods for producing translucent films for repairing tears in translucent paper using films cast from microfibrillated cellulose were tested working in cooperation with the National Archives London. Based on a commercially available microfibrillated cellulose suspension, films were cast in-house with or without the addition of methyl cellulose. Their optical and mechanical properties were compared with commercial microfibrillated cellulose films and Japanese tissue. Hhandling and adhesion of these materials was tested by mending newly made tears in both modern and naturally aged (dispensable) translucent papers using, as adhesive, either Klucel® G or isinglass. On the basis of these results, a selection of translucent papers belonging to the collection of The National Archives were repaired with the custom-made microfibrillated film with Klucel® G as the adhesive choice. From among the film materials tested, the one that was custom-made from commercially available microfibrillated cellulose suspension presented a cost-effective method for the translucent mending films that can be used for repairs on translucent papers. 

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