Category Archives: Heritage Conservation

Treating the back of a canvas painting

Reports and write-ups on “Conservation of a canvas paintings” generally skip or very slightly mention the problems (and their treatment) at the back of a canvas painting. We need to understand that back represents the health of the canvas support on which the paint layer is resting. Dust/dirt has a tendency to collect on the…

Conservation of wall paintings at the Golden Temple(Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji), Amritsar, India

Namita JaspalHeritage Preservation Atelier, Chandigarh, Indianamitajaspal72@gmail.com, heritage.atelier@gmail.comhttp://www.heritagepreservationatelier.comKeywords – Sikh art, Mural paintings, Conservation, Religion AbstractThis case study regarding the conservation of wall paintings at The Golden Temple (Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji) Amritsar, India, intends to highlight some specific conservation issues related to the active religious sites that are historically very important and have huge role…

Agarose gel for controlled wet cleaning of textiles

Introduction to Agarose gel Agarose is one of the two principal components of agar, and is purified from agar by removing agar’s other component, agaropectin. Chemistry – Agarose, the gelling fraction, is a neutral linear molecule essentially free of sulfates, consisting of chains of repeating alternate units of ß-1,3-linked- D-galactose and a-1,4-linked 3,6-anhydro-L-galactose. Agarose is…

Conservation and Preservation of an archival scrapbook

An important record of an organization, in the form of a scrap book, was brought to our lab for treatment and preservation. The data was important and the originals need to be rescued from further deterioration. The pictures, maps and documents in this scrapbook were pasted with an acidic glue to the black paper of…

Studying old photographs

Old photographs are not just pictures showing some image, but, their anatomy, composition, texture and information written/printed/stamped etc. tell a lot more about the time, people, techniques of photography, its stability/instability with time and how it can be preserved or treated. These days , at Heritage Preservation Atelier, we are working on a collection of…

Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji and First attempts in Art Conservation (2013)

Conservation approach  Collaboration between community, religious heads, management, historians and conservation scientists is a remarkable involvement for the sacred cause of Conservation and Preservation of wall paintings of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji. The conservation approach has to deal with multiple interwoven issues. Some points to consider were: Whether we need to explore the under-drawings, belonging…

Preservation of Archival scrapbook

A scrap book was brought to our lab for treatment and preservation. The data was important and the originals need to be rescued from further deterioration. The pictures, maps and documents in this scrapbook were pasted with an acidic glue to the black paper of a photo album. The glue could be confirmed as acidic…

Heritage Preservation Atelier conducted a 3 days Workshop/congress in Chandigarh

Heritage and its conservation/preservation are both not very well understood by us. This is understandable, because, we lag behind in care and understanding of even more important and basic areas of life, like environment, waste-management, religion etc. In any case, each and every profession has to develop and grow in a positive way irrespective of…

Life-size photograph from late nineteenth or early twentieth century

Condition Assessment and Treatment Record A Life -size photograph print that came for treatment to our lab could not be taken inside immediately at its arrival, as it had live termite all over it. All the life stages of a termite could be seen on the huge framed photograph. It was extremely difficult to control…

Should the importance and value of painting or heritage object decide the methodology of conservation? How much time, efforts and money should be put in conserving or restoring it?

Some objects and art work is priceless because of its historic or cultural value. It is wise to make a highly trained and educated conservator do it’s conservation with most expensive conservation grade material taking days and days of labour. But, if the work is of value only to the owner and he/she want to…

Conservation Lab: removing old repairs

Many a times while treating certain artifacts, specially on paper, one might feel that certain old repairs or treatments might be kept as such. But, when we proceed with the treatment we find that it was better if everything added as a repair was removed before starting our own treatment. Removing old repairs or not…

Getting ready for next workshop: March 2019!

Another opportunity for budding conservators to understand and learn: Conservation scenario in India The basic material and techniques used in archival conservation The basic materials and techniques in oil painting (on canvas) conservation possible job and business prospects Queries can be send here: Some glimpses from earlier workshops:

Bookworms love spines of books and hate anoxic environment

Its our experience that insects that damage books are mainly attacking spine. This is because the spine receives liberal amount of adhesive while book making. After eradicating all the various stages of insects thriving in the books, book conservators repair damaged and deteriorated bound materials. We treat them further so that readers/researchers can consult them…

Aspergillus niger and Paper

Aspergillus niger is one of the most active cellulolytic fungi. The roll of drawings in the above picture is mainly infested by A. niger and Chaetomium sp. as identified from the cultures isolated from the deteriorating inner-side of the roll. This culture was maintained on potato dextrose agar slants. Following are the digital pictures of…

Paper burnt or eaten?

  This black powdery sheet (!) is not burnt paper, but, paper eaten by fungus. Cellulolytic microorganisms are hiding nicely all around us and are much more destructively powerful than we can expect from the tiny spores. Storage enclosures that were designed and created for protection turned out to be actually working with the deteriogens…

Removing Foxing is doable, but needs thorough understanding and patience too…

In paper conservation literature, there are many ways and materials advised to be used to remove foxing or at least lighten its scars. Here i am not going to suggest what to use, but would like to mention the importance of a thorough knowledge of chemistry and physics too apart from the deep appreciation of…

Foxing

That peculiar smell/odor when some old books are opened, might at times be associated with mold and foxing. We come across books with foxing that may have very strong odor. All old books have vellichor, but some have stronger musty odor. Foxing is an age-related process of deterioration that causes spots and browning on old…

Glassine stuck to a Photograph

We come across many different kind of problems associated with old black and white photographs. Fading, yellowing, redox blemishing, silver mirroring etc are some common problems with old photographs. These problems are generally due to the inherent causes or reasons present within the Photograph either because of the technique or material involved in making of…

BoPET: Mylar/Melinex/Hostaphan

All the conservation labs/workshops have mylar or melinex as the most commonly used material while treatment procedures as well as in packaging and safe storage or display etc. Such widely and frequently used material is known to all by these trade names (Mylar and Melinex), but not many know the exact properties and actual name…

Case study of conservation of a map

Info from the print Condition Assessment We received the map in a folded form. There was some adhesive residue visible on the outside. On opening of the very first fold we found that due to the application of some adhesive, the folds were stuck to each other. There was an attempt in past, by someone…

Paper and book conservation – Part 9

Finally, all the books that came to our lab have been restored and given a kind of new life. They are going back to the library tomorrow morning. Following is a re-sharing of a summary of all the conservation processes performed in our lab: Team Heritage Preservation Atelier had a challenging task of conservation of…

Team working towards final steps of an intense task of books’ conservation

Team Heritage Preservation Atelier had a challenging task of conservation of a set of books that could not be digitized by a library because of the extremely brittle pages and stuck up and deteriorated condition. We started with making a detailed condition assessment report. After initial documentation, we opened up the worn out and damaged…

Studying Paper for presence of watermark and bluish tinge: Case of 150 years old drawing

The drawing under study is made in 1868 (as evident from the signature) and the watermark mentions the paper manufacturing year to be 1866. ‘Watermarks’ are markings put into paper during its production, by making thinner or thicker  layer of pulp when it is still wet. It becomes visible when paper seen with light source…

Case of a 150 year old engineering drawing

June 26, 2018   By Manit When we first saw the drawing on site, it appeared to be in a fairly good condition. Once it arrived in our conservation lab and we started a thorough diagnosis, there were a lot many observations and analytical details that were required to be considered before any treatment methodology…

Some deteriogens are very nicely hidden

One of the miniature paintings we came across last month was showing some signs of biological degradation, but no active microbes were visible on the surface. This was unlike other miniature paintings of the same lot, which had visible mold on surface, specially at the back of the painting. This painting had no mold visible…

Brief record of miniature painting’s assessment and conservation

When a conservator gets art works like the above miniature painting, it is not just the damages that interest him/her, it is also the history/mythology and story depicted in the painting that attracts the conservator. Story/history/mythology apart from the technique and place in timeline/age, would scale the importance of the painting. We study a painting for…

Flaking in Miniature Paintings

Indian miniature paintings have various schools and technical differences, but most of them have thick paint layer and impasto effects. Thick paint layers tend to flake off under certain circumstances. This flaking can be very unstable/powdering off or more stable in the sense that flaking is not falling off easily… We at heritage preservation Atelier…

Rescuing Frescoes from ruins

At the edge of a jungle, we found some ruins of a temple which was still functional in adjoining more recently constructed room. Initially when i visited the site in 2008, there was another structure right in the middle of the temple complex. This structure was now (2015) totally erased from the landscape. Only a…

Blue-prints and White-prints or blue-lines

(June 2017 These days we are working on a few blue-prints and blue-lines in our lab. Before starting any work, we tried to discuss the original material and technique used into making them, with our team.) Both these processes use different light sensitive chemicals for re-producing or copying the original drawings made on translucent paper.…

Painting, backing, conservation and Physics

Very often we have seen that old worn out paintings are pasted on thicker backing board or sheet. This initially looks good as the worn out or crushed paper or fabric looks much better as it acquires the smoothness and strength of the new backing; but, we tend to ignore that this is not for…

one little observation while studying old miniature paintings

At times we find old sticky tape which leaves almost no adhesive on paper and does not make the paper brittle; instead, it makes its own plastic base brittle. Is this because of the adhesive chemistry itself or because of the pigment on the paper it is applied on?

Paper paintings and mounting issues

  We have learned while specializing in the field of conservation of cultural property (more specifically art, in the present discussion), about the specific type of material that should be used while mounting a painting on paper. The technique also matters a lot. One common technique of mounting involves creating ‘hinges’ on the mount board…

Issues in old books and traditional re-binding

When the pages have turned very brittle and there are tears, lost areas and old repairs with incompatible and damaging materials, it is not that simple to mend and rebind a book with traditional sewing technique.   Some binding procedures that cannot be performed properly or at all are:  We cannot trim the edges. We…

Sellotape: How it deteriorates and changes with time

What is sellotape?  Sellotape is basically a brand of transparent, polypropylene-based, pressure-sensitive tape. But, this term is also used for any such pressure sensitive tape of any brand. Sellotape is generally used for joining, sealing, attaching and mending. The older version of sellotape has shown some changes in its physical and chemical properties over a…