J.CAC VOLUME 44 (2019)

A Comparison of Birch Bark Colour Change Due to Methanol or Ethanol Vapour Exposures

Carole Dignard, Season Tse, Sonia Kata, Megan Narvey, Jennifer Poulin

This research assesses whether exposing birch bark to methanol or ethanol vapours as used in treatments to reshape distortions in bark artifacts causes colour changes. Analysis of water, methanol and ethanol extracts of bark by pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) confirmed that methanol and ethanol solvents extract similar compounds in similar relative abundances from birch bark, while water presents a different extraction profile. Three barks of different colours on their cambium sides were exposed to methanol or ethanol vapours for two different exposure periods, and were monitored visually as well as through colour measurements and weight gain for up to 35 weeks after treatment. The short (2.3-day) methanol vapour exposure gave the best results: low colour change combined with fast absorption rate and sufficient peak weight gain to improve bark flexibility. Analysis was carried out on samples of a white crystalline deposit that occurred on one of the barks exposed to ethanol vapour: it was identified as betulin and lupeol in approximately a 2:1 ratio. Cleaning the vapour-exposed barks with swabs moistened with water was successful in removing the white residue and did not in itself cause colour change.

Download: JCAC44 Dignard et al.

J.CAC VOLUME 44 (2019)

Identifying Collections Vulnerable to Disasters: Evidence from Risk Analysis of Rare Events

Irene Karsten

Recent comprehensive risk assessment projects conducted by the Canadian Conservation Institute have shown that, under certain conditions, risks associated with hazards such as fire, earthquake and tornado rank as priority risks relative to all other risks facing heritage collections. Risk analysis using the ABC Method based on incidence and severity data, or on an expert model that relates specific features and behaviours (control levels) with the degree of damage to the collections, can help identify factors that generate Magnitude of Risk scores categorized as High to Extreme for such events. Flood risk scores at least in the High category if collections are stored below or on grade in locations at risk of overland flooding, storm surge or tsunami. Fire risk falls in the Extreme category for collections in combustible or fire-resistive buildings that lack automatic fire detection or suppression and exhibit poor compartmentation, and in many buildings at the wildland-urban interface. Earthquake is categorized as an Extreme risk in non-seismically stable buildings in regions prone to violent or extreme shaking, or as a High risk when the building is stable but storage and display fittings lack seismic protection in regions at risk of at least very strong shaking. Physical damage due to severe winds would score as a High risk in many building types in regions at risk of Category 3–5 hurricanes or EF3–5 tornadoes even when the chance of a direct hit is small. When such disaster risks are categorized as High to Extreme, mitigation is highly recommended and may be cost-effective. Reducing the likelihood of the hazard may be difficult or impossible; therefore, facility improvements that reduce negative consequences on collections during an event are recommended, in addition to preparations for effective response and recovery.

Download: JCAC44 Karsten

J.CAC VOLUME 44 (2019)

Performance Testing of Anti-graffiti Coatings for Painted Outdoor Murals in Canada

Michael O’Malley, Nancy E. Binnie

Outdoor murals are sometimes defaced by graffiti that introduces unwanted painting, tagging or “bombing” on the surface. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance and handling characteristics of ten anti-graffiti coatings and five acrylic varnishes that could potentially serve as anti-graffiti barriers on outdoor murals in the Canadian climate. A selection of both permanent and temporary coatings was made after carrying out a literature search for products available in Canada. Painted test panels were prepared with acrylic latex exterior house paint, following the procedure of a muralist. Protective coatings were applied to each panel based on manufacturers’ recommendations. The panels were aged outdoors for two years, then marked with graffiti materials. Solvents and other methods were used to reduce or remove graffiti marks to determine which coatings provided good protection to the underlying paint. The overall performance of the coatings was assessed on the following criteria: initial and aged appearance (gloss, dirt pickup, colour change), ease of coating application and handling, effectiveness as a graffiti barrier, and ease of local reapplication after graffiti removal. Observations were documented by photographs, videos and notes using customized forms and a standardized rating system. Quantitative gloss and colour measurements were made during the first three years of outdoor exposure to chart the rate and amount of visual change. Of the fifteen coatings studied, many performed adequately as graffiti barriers, but three products were deemed best overall because they performed well across the entire range of the assessment criteria. These included a double-component acrylic varnish system and two aqueous, wax-based anti-graffiti coatings. Overall, increasing the number of applied layers did not adversely affect the appearance of the coatings, and additional layers gave some coatings better resistance to graffiti, as well as protecting the paint layer from solvents and other cleaning methods required for graffiti removal.

Download: JCAC44 O'Malley & Binnie

J.CAC VOLUME 44 (2019)

Book Reviews

Biodeterioration and Preservation in Art, Archaeology and Architecture / Interactions of Water with Paintings / Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage

Download: JCAC44 Book Reviews

J.CAC VOLUME 43 (2018)

Une étude des matériaux et techniques de Marc-Aurèle Fortin

Marie-Claude Corbeil, Elizabeth Moffatt, Claude Belleau, Eric J. Henderson, Jennifer Poulin

A retrospective exhibition of the work of Marc-Aurèle Fortin organized by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec provided the opportunity to examine twenty-six paintings executed between 1918 and 1952, along with two artist’s paint boxes attributed to Fortin from the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Samples from the paintings and the paint tubes found in the boxes were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, polarised light microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Data on supports, preparation layers, grey and black ground layers and paints are presented here. The painting supports are quite diverse and are sometimes unusual: canvas (linen or cotton), cardboard, wood, fibreboard, metal and linoleum were all identified. The use of poor quality supports is the main conservation problem for Fortin’s paintings, as they may have deteriorated over time or caused alterations to the paint layers. The canvas supports are usually covered with a ground layer, often white in colour, while the rigid supports are not usually prepared, except sometimes those made of cardboard. The composition of the grey and black ground layers, which are characteristic of Fortin, varies from one painting to another, indicating that Fortin did not follow a strict protocol or that he may have employed commercial materials of variable composition. His colours were obtained using a diverse palette: a total of thirty-seven pigments were identified in the twenty-six works studied. Apart from the black ground layers, the binder of which is an oil-modified alkyd resin, Fortin’s paints are mostly oil-based; in some of his later works he also employed casein paints.

Download: JCAC43 Corbeil et al.

J.CAC VOLUME 43 (2018)

The Evolution of Specifications for Limiting Pollutants in Museums and Archives

Jean Tétreault

Since the first pollutant limits for museums and archives emerged in the 1970s, various documents have proposed specifications to guide pollutant control for the protection of heritage collections. Three approaches to avoiding damaging pollutant levels are examined in this paper: specifications based on maximum allowable levels, on dosimeters and on testing products. The evolution of recommended maximum levels of gaseous pollutants is documented, showing that, over time, limits were progressively lowered but then more recently relaxed, and that lists expanded to include more key pollutants. Dosimeters have been developed as an alternate way to characterize pollutant levels, but their use in museums and archives remains limited. Tests that distinguish products that emit damaging pollutants from those that do not have been more widely adopted as a means of selecting appropriate products for use in collection spaces, especially enclosures. To date, evidence to support specifications has often been weak or may not reflect what actually occurs in the museum environment.

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J.CAC VOLUME 43 (2018)

How Preventive Conservation Can Inform a Collections Move: Rehousing the Canadian and European Furniture Collections at the Royal Ontario Museum

Greg Kelley, Melissa Maltby

In 2015, the Royal Ontario Museum undertook the challenge of a large-scale, two-year move of over 26,000 artifacts from temporary storage in the McLaughlin Planetarium to a purpose-renovated facility. Moving such vast and varied collections presented many unique logistical and organizational challenges. An innovative approach to designing the storage facility from the ground up by using 3-D modelling software to pre-visualize the various layouts is described. Designs, materials and rationales for dust covers, custom pallets, moving crates and storage mounts are also discussed. This paper focuses on part of the project – the systematic process of moving and storing over 500 pieces of furniture and wooden objects – as an illustration of how conservation can inform a large collections move.

Download: JCAC43 Kelley & Maltby

J.CAC VOLUME 42 (2017)

Practical Electrochemistry for Conservators and Conservation Scientists: Part I – The Basics of Potential Measurement

Lyndsie Selwyn, W. Ross McKinnon

Electrochemical techniques are used in conservation to identify metals or corrosion products, or to monitor or treat metal objects. Although there are many published reports on these techniques, it is difficult to find practical information on how to get started to use them. This paper provides some of this information for one important application of these techniques, namely measurement of corrosion potential (the potential of an object immersed in a liquid electrolyte with respect to a reference electrode). Topics covered include electrochemical cells, multimeters, electrical connection to objects, electrolytes and, especially, reference electrodes – common types of reference electrodes, how to use, protect and maintain them, and how to troubleshoot problems. Examples are given of measuring corrosion potential and using Pourbaix diagrams.

Download: JCAC42 Selwyn & McKinnon I

J.CAC VOLUME 42 (2017)

Practical Electrochemistry for Conservators and Conservation Scientists: Part II – Characterizing and Treating Corroded Metals

Lyndsie Selwyn, W. Ross McKinnon

Electrochemical techniques can be used to characterize corrosion on a metal object and to reduce the corrosion either to a different compound or back to the metallic state. These techniques involve the flow of electrical current, and so are more involved than the measurement of the potential between an object and a reference electrode in a two-electrode cell. Information is given here for techniques where current flows, including the choice of a third electrode (the counter electrode) and the additional equipment needed (a power supply or potentiostat). Examples are given of methods varying the potential (potentiodynamic), holding the potential constant (potentiostatic), or holding the current constant (galvanostatic). The following aspects are discussed: identifying the features associated with oxygen reduction, associating the peaks in potentiodynamic scans with specific compounds in the corrosion, choosing the potential for treating an object, and estimating the amount of corrosion on an object or a test sample.

Download: JCAC42 Selwyn & McKinnon II

J.CAC VOLUME 42 (2017)

The Treatment of a Catharine Parr Traill Botanical Album

Christine McNair

A treatment was undertaken at the Canadian Conservation Institute to conserve a botanical album compiled by Catharine Parr Traill from the collection of the Peterborough Museum and Archives. The botanical specimens, many detached, were vulnerable to mechanical damage due to the stiffness of the binding. After consultation with conservators at the Canadian Museum of Nature, a treatment method was developed to reattach the detached specimens using micro solvent-set straps of Japanese paper. This solvent-set strapping interfered minimally with the movement of the book’s pages and was comparable to methods used within herbariums. The strips are easily reversible and require minimum moisture and adhesive. Some portions of the specimens were lightly adhered using methyl cellulose. The binding itself was structurally altered by adding a moulded spine hollow in order to improve the opening of the volume and to prevent further mechanical damage.

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J.CAC VOLUME 41 (2016)

Characterization of Artificial Stone Used for Outdoor Monuments and Sculptures in Quebec

Dominique Duguay, Jane Sirois, Melanie Raby, Isabelle Paradis

Artificial stone is often employed in sculptural work and architectural details in Quebec, including many monuments that have fallen into disrepair. During this collaborative project between the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Centre de conservation du Québec, 16 samples were taken from 12 sculptures across Quebec and were analyzed by means of stereomicroscopy, scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, thin-section petrography and X-ray diffraction. Some aspects of the analysis, for instance the confirmation of the presence of clinker, proved to be challenging due to the restrictions on sample size required in conservation work. The results indicate that more than half of the sculptures analyzed were hydraulic cement-based artificial stone. The remaining sculptures were made of Coade stone, or lime-, gypsum- or dolomite-containing materials. This research provides a limited survey of artificial stones in Quebec and will help guide conservators in selecting proper treatments for these works by allowing identification and better understanding of the materials.

Download: JCAC41 Duguay et al

J.CAC VOLUME 41 (2016)

Shredded Cedar Bark: A Survey of Past Treatments

Sonia Kata, Carole Dignard

A survey of past treatments for shredded cedar bark was carried out on sixteen objects: two masks from the U’mista Cultural Centre and fourteen similar objects at the Canadian Museum of History (CMH), which had been assessed or treated by the CMH or the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) nearly 30 years ago. The objects were examined and evaluated with regard to cedar bark condition, appearance, pH and iron content. Treatments fell into four groups: 1) adhesive consolidation; 2) localized paper supports with adhesives; 3) localized thread wrappings, with or without adhesives; and 4) no treatment, sometimes coupled with a support. Parylene (poly-para-xylylenes) coating was also investigated as CCI carried out tests on cedar bark samples several years ago. Each treatment strategy had some benefits and drawbacks. Iron content was identified as an important factor in condition. A literature review on shredded cedar bark was also conducted to elucidate its properties, processing and conservation.

Download: JCAC41 Kata & Dignard

J.CAC VOLUME 41 (2016)

Technical Note: Magnetic Mounts for Textile and Leather Objects in a Travelling Exhibit

Amanda Harding

This note describes a method to construct mounts for three objects in a travelling exhibit using rare earth magnets. The objects were made of textile and leather and included an original beaded fire bag, reproduction leather mittens and reproduction leg garters. The mounts for the mittens and leg garters were successful but the mount for the fire bag failed in one context.

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J.CAC VOLUME 40 (2015)

Characterization of Varnishes on Nineteenth-Century Canadian Furniture

Elizabeth Moffatt, Amanda Salmon, Jennifer Poulin, Alastair Fox, James Hay

A project was undertaken at the Canadian Conservation Institute to identify the original varnishes on a selection of wooden furniture made in Canada in order to test assumptions about which varnishes were commonly applied to such objects and to gain a better understanding of the varnishing practices of Canadian cabinetmakers. The project focused on pieces fabricated in Ontario and New Brunswick, primarily during the nineteenth century. Varnish samples taken from twenty-one pieces of furniture were analyzed in order to determine their compositions. Objects were chosen based on evidence of the presence of an original varnish and for their strong provenance. Analysis of the varnishes was undertaken by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Analytical results suggest that the use of fixed oil varnishes incorporating Pinaceae resin and often imported copal resins was more common than the use of shellac, and that it persisted in Canada to at least the end of the nineteenth century.

Download: JCAC40 Moffatt et al

J.CAC VOLUME 40 (2015)

Early Twentieth-Century Artists’ Paints in Toronto: Archival and Material Evidence

Kate Helwig, Elizabeth Moffatt, Marie-Claude Corbeil, Dominique Duguay

Information about artists’ paints available in Toronto during the first decades of the twentieth century was acquired through the examination of archival material and the analysis of historic paints from the paint box of Kathleen Munn and from a Winsor & Newton specimen tint book. The archival and material evidence revealed that the lead sulfate-zinc white paint commonly used by Tom Thomson and members of the Group of Seven was New Flake White from the Cambridge Colours paint brand. The research also highlighted the prevalence of hydromagnesite (magnesium carbonate hydroxide) in Winsor & Newton paints. This filler, which has been identified in paint from early twentieth-century works by several Canadian painters, is characteristic of Winsor & Newton and is not present in the Cambridge Colours. The information obtained gives useful context to previous research on Tom Thomson’s painting materials, and will also inform future scientific studies of painters active in Toronto during this period, including Group of Seven artists.

Download: JCAC40 Helwig et al

J.CAC VOLUME 40 (2015)

Slugs as Potential Pests of Paper

Viktoria Korytnianska

An instance of damage to paper by slugs is presented in this report. Slugs were found in the basement of the National Research Restoration Centre of Ukraine in Odessa. The room appeared to have optimal indoor conditions; however, upon further examination it was found that slugs were inhabiting a microclimate zone, where a large amount of condensation was observed on the cold water pipes. The slugs had damaged newspapers, softcover books, and paper envelopes containing photos. It appears that they ate paper with food, oils and other contamination in the absence of their usual food sources. The slug damage resulted in holes and other losses in the paper as well as contamination by mucus tracks and excrement. Given this, we can conclude that slugs are potential pests of works of art on paper that are stored in damp basements and ground floors.

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J.CAC VOLUME 39 (2014)

Archival Preservation and the Preservation of Archival Value

Ala Rekrut

This paper briefly considers the evolving conceptions of Archival Value, Records and Preservation as discussed in archival literature and their connections to materiality in archival records. Archival preservation theory has not developed in conjunction with appraisal theory, so many routine archival practices appear to ignore the relationship between materiality and archival value, and may even obstruct, diminish or destroy the characteristics meant to define archival value today. Conservators working in archives can draw on their professional knowledge to help make connections between the significant characteristics shared by both analogue and digital records, and to work with archivists to preserve these characteristics for the future.

Download: JCAC39 Rekrut

J.CAC VOLUME 39 (2014)

The Treatment of Archaeological Papers Affected by Iron Corrosion Using Calcium Phytate

Amanda Gould

The calcium phytate/calcium bicarbonate treatment method developed for delaying iron gall ink corrosion on paper was applied to the paper components of two archaeological artifacts: a soup tin label that was unearthed from the site of a storehouse built on Dealy Island by British sailors searching for the lost Franklin Expedition, and a pocket watch that was retrieved from the waters of the St. Lawrence River after the wreck of the RMS Empress of Ireland. The soup tin label showed highly three-dimensional rust accretions and staining with both stained and unstained areas of the paper testing positive for free iron(II) and iron(III) ions. The pocket watch label showed significant yellow-orange coloured staining throughout the remains of the primary paper support and also tested positive for both iron(II) and iron(III) ions. Although neither artifact was inscribed with iron gall ink, the calcium phytate/calcium bicarbonate treatment was applied to each of them to combat the degradation of paper that results from iron(II)-catalysed oxidation and acid-catalysed hydrolysis of cellulose, while at the same time maintaining the visual cues to the archaeological context of the two objects. The treatment decision-making process and treatment steps are discussed.

Download: JCAC39 Gould

J.CAC VOLUME 39 (2014)

The Effect of Ozone and Hydrogen Peroxide Bleaching on the Copper Number of Paper

Jennifer Robertson

This preliminary study compared the oxidative damage to paper inflicted by ozone to that caused by another oxidative process commonly justified for use in conservation, bleaching. Paper samples were exposed to ozone at a concentration and duration comparable to that used by disaster remediation services for odour removal, and to conditions exceeding normal ozone treatment levels. Another set of samples was bleached with hydrogen peroxide. The degree of oxidation was characterized by determining the copper number of the paper before and after treatment. The results suggest that the degree of oxidation of cellulose produced by ozone at levels used for odour removal is comparable to that caused by mild oxidizing bleach.

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J.CAC VOLUME 38 (2013)

The rate of change in the Totem Poles of Nans Sdins – 1982 to 2009

Clifford Cook, David W. Grattan, James Hay, Andrew Todd

This paper summarizes field work undertaken at Nan Sdins World Heritage site on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia in the summer of 2009 to assess the changes that had taken place in totem poles since an earlier study by the authors in 1982. The progressive loss of carved image on the poles was assessed by comparing photographs over time. Digital images were modified using off-the-shelf software to remove backgrounds and match the size of the poles. Carved relief loss was estimated by counting pixels and comparing successive losses in images taken over several years. Two of the poles on the site are used as examples of this photographic technique to compare current condition with that predicted by the 1982 assessments of loss in cross-section and extent of interior rot. In a majority of cases this assessment of the interior condition of the poles correctly predicted either an increased loss of carved surface or pole surfaces that remained nearly unchanged. Overall the results clearly show that there is a decrease in the quality of preservation going from the north to the south of the site.

Download: JCAC38 Cook et al

J.CAC VOLUME 38 (2013)

Evaluation of Selected Adhesive Tapes and Heat-set Tissues – A Final Update

Jane L. Down, Sherry Guild, Greg Hill, Christine McNair, Doris St.-Jacques, Kathleen Westbury

This paper is the final report on the tested properties of selected adhesive tapes and heat-set tissues which should help conservators understand their stability and their impact on paper. The tested properties include: the pH after 4 years of dark aging; the change in colour of the carrier side of the products and of paper substrates to which they were attached after oven aging and after 4 years of dark aging; the photographic activity test (PAT); and the mechanical and solvent removability of the products from 1870s commercial printed paper and a 1970s resin-coated (RC) photographic paper after oven aging and after 4 years of dark aging. The majority of the products were neutral (and remained so on aging), but some were slightly alkaline or acidic. Only one product discoloured the paper substrate on the reverse significantly after oven aging, while no product did so after 4 years of dark aging. However, the carrier side of several products discoloured substantially on oven aging, although only two on dark aging. Since only 40% of the products passed the PAT test, the results will be of interest to those using these products in the proximity of photographs. Generally, products were easier to remove from the RC paper than from the 1870s commercial printed paper. Aging tended to decrease removability, although it did not change the removability much for several products. Conservators can use the removability data to determine how difficult a specific product might be to remove mechanically and what solvents may be effective in its removal. Also, the results should help conservators make informed decisions on heat-set tissue choice. A few products exhibited good results across all tests.

Download: JCAC38 Down et al

J.CAC VOLUME 38 (2013)

La mise en valeur d’un groupe de pilots de bois à l’aide d’un support en acier

André Bergeron, Gaston Trépanier, Alain Vandal, Louise Pothier, Sophie Limoges

The remains of the Royal Insurance Company building, dating from 1861, were unearthed during archaeological digs in 1989-91, on the construction site of Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History. The building had a clock tower that rested on wooden pilings. These were recovered during the dig, treated and kept in a storage area for later use. In 2007, a simple and completely reversible mount system was produced in order to display the wooden pilings at Pointe-à-Callière museum.

Download: JCAC38 Bergeron et al

J.CAC VOLUME 38 (2013)

Iron Stain Removal from Archaeological Composite Artifacts made of Wood and Iron

Lyndsie S. Selwyn, Clifford Cook, Ross W. McKinnon, Ron Fairman, Sylvie Labroche

When some composite wood-iron artifacts from a marine archaeological site became stained by iron corrosion products during storage, a procedure had to be developed to remove the staining from the wood surface. Eight solutions were evaluated to determine how well they could remove rust stains from paper (a convenient form of cellulose). The solutions included a combination of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA), oxalic acid, thioglycolic acid, sodium dithionite with and without a chelating agent (EDTA), poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP), and phosphoric acid with and without PVP. The most effective of these, sodium dithionite plus EDTA, was then tested further. It was found that the dithionite solutions should not be heated or exposed to air; that other chelating agents can be used instead of EDTA, such as DTPA or the sodium salt of N,N-di(2-hydroxyethyl)glycine (DHEG); that the concentration of chelating agent is not critical; and that the results are similar whether the sodium dithionite and chelating agent are used in the same solution or used sequentially in separate solutions.

Download: JCAC38 Selwyn et al

J.CAC VOLUME 37 (2012)

A Comparison of Aqueous versus Ethanol Modified Calcium Phytate Solutions for the Treatment of Iron Gall Ink Inscribed Paper

Season Tse, Sherry Guild, Amanda Gould

While the calcium phytate/calcium bicarbonate treatment has proven to be effective in delaying iron gall ink corrosion on paper, this aqueous treatment cannot be used safely on documents with water soluble iron gall inks. This study explores the efficacy of ethanol diluted calcium phytate. Laboratory prepared iron gall ink with excess iron ions was applied to a nineteenth century ledger paper to create samples that were then treated with six variations of calcium phytate solution with and without ethanol modification, and with and without alkaline washing. They were subjected to accelerated heat aging at 90°C for 14 days. The unaged control and aged samples were tested with bathophenanthroline iron (II) test papers, zero-span tensile strength, pH and colour measurements, and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) multi-element scan. Results after heat aging showed that all variations of phytate solution, without further deacidification, were able to reduce the loss of strength in paper with and without ink. Treatment with undiluted phytate (100%) with or without alkaline washing offered the best protection. Inks without alkaline washing retained more iron ions in the ink and as a result retained more phytate. Dilution of the aqueous phytate solutions with ethanol reduced its ability to remove acids, hence reducing its ability to protect paper from strength loss. Repeated applications of the ethanol modified solutions resulted in the accumulation of more phytate on the paper and ink, and delayed the recurrence of iron (II) ions.

Download: JCAC37 Tse et al

J.CAC VOLUME 37 (2012)

Technical Note on Treatment Options for Iron Gall Ink on Paper with a Focus on Calcium Phytate

Sherry Guild, Season Tse, Maria Trojan-Bedynski

This technical note presents treatment options for works on paper inscribed with iron gall ink. The note consists of a flow chart with accompanying text that summarizes key points regarding the evaluation, examination and treatment options available for iron gall ink on paper. It is presented here as a précis of treatment considerations and is intended to be used as a practical laboratory tool.

Download: JCAC37 Guild et al

J.CAC VOLUME 37 (2012)

The National Gallery of Canada and Nathan Stolow

Marion H. Barclay

This article explores the evolution of scientific research and its impact on conservation at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) as envisioned by Director Alan Jarvis and conservation scientist Nathan Stolow. Stolow’s early interest in painting influenced him to pursue a career encompassing both painting and chemistry. This took him to the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London, England where he graduated in 1956 with a doctorate in art conservation. Before joining the Gallery in 1957, Stolow completed an international survey of gallery and museum laboratories, establishing contact with key players in conservation in Great Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada. The tour set the direction of conservation research at the Gallery. In 1957, Stolow established the Conservation and Scientific Research Division, which developed into the National Conservation Research Laboratory in 1964. Over the years at the NGC, Stolow contributed to and sponsored research in such diverse fields as the analysis of picture varnish and the effects of solvents on drying oil films, an early survey and analysis of contemporary artists’ materials, art fraud, packing and transportation of works of art, the museum environment, and the scientific analysis of works of art. He advised on the conservation of modern and contemporary art, assisted in the design of the art display spaces for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67, organized the cross-Canada exhibition Progress in Conservation, and published and lectured widely. With the federal government’s announcement of a new Ottawa-based institute for conservation in 1972, Stolow left the Gallery and took up duties as founding Director of the Canadian Conservation Institute.

Download: JCAC37 Barclay

J.CAC VOLUME 37 (2012)

Early Manufacture of Artists’ Materials in Canada: A History of Canadian Art Laboratory

Barbara Klempan

Canadian Art Laboratory was a notable Canadian manufacturer and international supplier of artists’ materials during the early- to mid- twentieth century. Founded in Toronto in the early 1930s by chemical engineer Henry James Goulding Carter, this firm filled a void in the manufacturing sector of artists’ materials in Canada. Canadian Art Laboratory flourished for just over twenty years until the company was officially dissolved in 1954. It claims to have pioneered titanium white as an artists’ paint in 1932 and manufactured the first watercolours in Canada. The reasons for the demise of Canadian Art Laboratory after such a short period of operation are not entirely clear. This research examines the history and activities of the company and its products in the context of a specific period in Canadian history when Canadian art technique and Canadian-made artists’ materials were being recognized and promoted.

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J.CAC VOLUME 36 (2011)

Recording the Weathering of Outdoor Stone Monuments Using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI): The Case of the Guild for All Arts (Scarborough, Ontario)

Alexander Gabov, George Bevan

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), developed in 2001 at Hewlett-Packard (HP) Labs, has been available for almost a decade but has been largely overshadowed by the rapid growth of laser and structured-light scanning in many cultural heritage applications. Work by Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) in San Francisco and at the University of Minho, Portugal, has done much to promote the technology and to develop a standard workflow. Demonstrated in this technical note is the way RTI can be integrated into the toolkit of the working stone conservator. The case of weathered façades in sandstone and limestone at Guild of All Arts in Scarborough, Ontario will be considered and the potential of RTI to reveal original tool marks on stone as well as spalling, both features that can be difficult to capture reliably outdoors with standard photography. RTI promises, by virtue of its ease-of-use and low-cost, to become a standard tool of documentation among conservation and heritage professionals for before and after-treatment recording.

Download: JCAC36 Gabov & Bevan

J.CAC VOLUME 36 (2011)

A Portrait Miniature Project at Library and Archives Canada

Maria Trojan-Bedynski, Carol Aiken, Alan Derbyshire, Gilbert Gignac, John Grace

In 2005, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) initiated a project to develop expertise in the conservation of portrait miniatures in North America and to facilitate access to these unique objects. With the support of a grant from the Getty Foundation, a five-day training workshop followed by a five-week treatment phase was completed in 2007. Eleven Canadian and American conservators participated in the workshop, “The Care and Treatment of Portrait Miniatures,” led by Alan Derbyshire, Head of Paper, Books and Paintings Conservation at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), London, UK. Highlights and learning outcomes from the workshop are summarized in this article, including a summary of various problems and treatment options for portrait miniatures painted on vellum or on ivory. For the treatment phase, LAC engaged Carol Aiken, a senior conservator who specializes in the treatment of portrait miniatures, to collaborate with a staff member in initiating treatment of the LAC collection. Several examples from the treatment project demonstrate how different problems routinely associated with miniature portraits on ivory were addressed. The diversity of materials, styles and origins make the care and treatment of portrait miniatures a complex and interesting conservation specialty, and one that benefits from a collaborative approach.

Download: JCAC36 Trojan-Bedynski et al

J.CAC VOLUME 36 (2011)

Creating Steel Mounts for the Exhibition of Totem Poles

James Hay

The challenge of vertically displaying a deteriorated totem pole has provoked a number of solutions over the last hundred years. At the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the collaboration between a civil engineer, a steel fabricator/welder, and a conservator resulted in a mount design custom made to fit each pole to which it is attached with lag screws. The mount consists of three parts: 1) a concrete plinth, which contains threaded steel rods, 2) a steel base plate, drilled to accept the rods, while hex nuts fasten the plate to the rods, and 3) a steel mast welded to the base plate custom built to suit the artwork. With modifications appropriate for exposure to weather, the method works indoors or out. This mount design has several advantages, even for a new pole: handling of the pole can cease once the mount is attached, and the operation of erecting the pole is simplified. Risk is minimized, as a civil engineer can approve such a solution. General details of the mount structure and lifting harness are described and illustrated.

Download: JCAC36 Hay

J.CAC VOLUME 36 (2011)

Une intervention cinq étoiles : la restauration d’un cadran solaire de la fin du XVIIème siècle

André Bergeron, Sophie Limoges, Louise Pothier, Alain Vandal, André E. Bouchard, Isabelle Duval

Excavations at the château de Callière, built around 1688 in Montréal (Quebec), led to the discovery of 19 slate fragments, many of which were inscribed with lines and circles. The first fragments were initially thought to be associated with the roof of the building but, as more slate fragments were discovered, archaeologists noted that the lines produced a series of angles radiating from a central point, indicating a cogent geometrical organisation. In 2007, the artefact was consigned to the Centre de conservation du Québec for conservation. Upon examination, the object was revealed to be a sun dial. This paper presents the rediscovery of this exceptional object, its conservation treatment and its display at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History.

Download: JCAC36 Bergeron et al

J.CAC VOLUME 35 (2010)

Review of Samples for the 1994 CCI Workshop “Varnishes: Authenticity and Permanence” after 15 Years of Natural Ageing

Michael O’Malley

The purpose of this 1994 workshop was to introduce participants to traditional and modern varnishes and to compare their characteristics and handling properties. Twelve test panels from the workshop were brought to the Centre de conservation du Québec (CCQ) in Quebec City and mounted on a wall in the paintings lab, where they were left to age for fifteen years. Visual comparisons were made to evaluate differences in colour change and gloss. It was concluded that adding Tinuvin 292 to mastic and dammar varnishes to inhibit premature yellowing (in the absence of UV light) is very important since all unstabilized varnishes made with these resins discoloured to some degree. Most proprietary varnishes showed no discoloration. However, those based on ketone resins gave less consistent results. It was particularly encouraging to see how well the Regalrez 1094 samples have aged. Their superior performance with regard to yellowing (with or without the addition of Tinuvin 292) and their rapid solubility in isooctane after 15 years of natural ageing may make Regalrez a suitable varnish for acrylic paintings. Surprisingly, four different unstabilized varnishes based on copal-oil formulations show only a trace of discoloration. It remains to be determined how these varnishes would age in environments where UV light is not filtered.

Download: JCAC35 O’Malley

J.CAC VOLUME 35 (2010)

Dealing with Radiation Hazards: The Luminous Dial Project at the Canada Science and Technology Museum

Sue Warren

The Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation (CSTMC), which includes the collections of the Science and Technology Museum, the Aviation Museum and the Agriculture Museum, has housed artifacts containing radioactive material since its creation in 1967. Efforts have been made in the past 15 years to properly label and store this material, most recently a collection of approximately 1200 radium dial instruments. Since this required staff involvement, many of whom had no previous experience with or knowledge of radioactive materials, guidelines specific to Canada were developed internally to clearly explain the regulations and risks, and to provide practical methods of mitigating those risks. The article describes the occurrence of radiation in the collection and the Luminous Dial Re-housing Project, and contains summary information including a glossary, guidelines for personal protection, and handling guidelines specific to Canada. It is always advisable to contact the regulatory bodies prior to working with this material.

Download: JCAC35 Warren

J.CAC VOLUME 35 (2010)

Le Triomphe de la Vierge de William Berczy : une renaissance !

Sophie Roberge, Élisabeth Forest

In 1810 William Berczy (1744-1813) painted the tondo, Le Triomphe de la Vierge (The Triumph of the Virgin) to decorate the ceiling of the first Church of Notre-Dame in Montreal. Measuring four metres in diameter, it was designed to imitate a cupola. The painting was in an extremely poor condition. It had been detached from its original location and removed on two occasions. It was almost entirely overpainted, and it had been heavily damaged by water during a fire. The conservation treatment consisted of consolidating flaking paint, removing the discolored varnish and overpaint, flattening canvas distortions, repairing damage to the canvas, lining, and filling and inpainting the countless areas of loss. The treatment presented numerous technical and logistical challenges due to the painting’s large size and its shape. For example, a combination easel/table equipped with two Sonotube rollers was used to facilitate operations and provide easy access to all parts of the painting. Mounting and framing were particularly complex operations. Not only did the requirement for framing need to respect the painting’s circular shape, but it also had to allow for ease of removal and future installation. The conservation treatment also provided an opportunity to study the artist’s materials and technique. Analyses of the ground and paint layers were carried out at the Canadian Conservation Institute. The work is now installed in the Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal.

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J.CAC VOLUME 35 (2010)

Marcelle Ferron for Conservators: The Artist, her Materials and Techniques from 1953 to 1960, and the Treatment of an Untitled Oil Painting on Canvas and_x000D_Plywood

Marie-Catherine Cyr, Wendy Baker

In October of 2007, a small abstract painting, Untitled (1955) by Québec artist Marcelle Ferron (1924-2001), was brought to the Canadian Conservation Institute for treatment. This painting, an oil on linen canvas marouflaged onto a plywood support by the artist, is a rare remaining example of this practice by Ferron. The preliminary research into the history of the painting revealed interesting details about the artist; however, no conservation-driven literature was found. This paper introduces Ferron’s motivations, unique working methods and materials to conservators, in addition to some of the artist’s views on art, artists, and her own work, focusing specifically on the first half of her Paris period (1953-1960). The treatment of Untitled (1955), which was developed in light of these findings, is described. The main conservation concerns with this painting were the extensive delamination of the canvas from the plywood support, the dome-like canvas deformations and the presence of a discoloured varnish. In order to preserve the artist’s intention and her materials, as well as her typical surface repairs and repaints, all original elements were retained. Entrance holes were drilled for the introduction of an adhesive through the back of the plywood rather than disturb the reasonably intact face of the painting. The distorted canvas was successfully restored to a planar surface through a series of moisture and heat treatments. The dark coating was removed and the painting re-varnished, revealing the composition’s vibrant colours.

Download: JCAC35 Cyr & Baker

J.CAC VOLUME 35 (2010)

The Chemical Composition and Conservation of Late 19th and Early 20th Century Sequins

Chris Paulocik, R. Scott Williams

Sequins from the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been made from a wide variety of natural and synthetic materials, including gelatin, varnishes, cellulose nitrate and various plastics, and metals such as gold, silver, steel and brass. Treatments using heat, water or humidity, or dry-cleaning solvents can severely damage or destroy a number of these materials. Sequins from a random selection of costumes were analyzed by infrared spectroscopy. Results from this analysis are compared to and combined with other reported analyses to obtain a list of materials identified in sequins. Conservation problems with these materials are discussed. Spot tests that can be used in the field to identify the most problematic materials are described, including the diphenylamine test for cellulose nitrate, copper (II) sulfate test for protein, chromotropic acid test for formaldehyde, and the iodine/potassium iodide test for starch.

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J.CAC VOLUME 34 (2009)

Social Contexts for Conservators: Time, Distance, and Voice in Museums and Galleries

Miriam Clavir

This paper explores developments in conservation influenced by social changes over the last fifty years, particularly by those changes occurring in conservation’s art gallery and museum milieu. These shifts include evolving concepts of time, distance and voice in museum practice, illustrated here in relation to the contemporary museum’s approach to research, access and exhibitions. These examples provide a reference point for discussing these concepts in relation to conservation. Comparisons are made with similar changes in perspective in the fields of history and, briefly, pain management in medicine. All these examples illustrate that the times conservators live in matter in their work, and not only in the sense of available technology, knowledge or materials.

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J.CAC VOLUME 34 (2009)

Respect: Engendering Participatory Relationships in Conservation Education

Robyn Sloggett

In 2004, the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (The University of Melbourne) established a new subject, Respect, as part of a new Masters by Coursework in Cultural Materials Conservation. In this subject, guest lecturers who have extraordinary or senior cultural expertise and knowledge introduce students to the political and societal aspects of cultural materials conservation. They lead students through the complexity of issues relating to context, disruption, authenticity, legal standing, development, reinvention, identity, and minority status. In Respect, students are asked to think about conservation as a practice that could benefit from incorporating intellectual positions and emotional skills that have been developed by other cultures, or marginalized communities within our own culture, to support the preservation of their cultural material or cultural identity. In order to do this, Respect seeks to indicate to students the political nature of cultural material conservation decision-making. The subject also asks students to consider who the partners in cultural materials conservation are, and whether conservators and those with the responsibility and interest in cultural preservation have the skills to enter into successful participatory partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders.

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J.CAC VOLUME 34 (2009)

A Passage in the Life of a Palampore: Conservation

Shirley Ellis

An early 18th century, gilded Indian cotton palampore (large bed curtain or cover) required a complex treatment so that it could be displayed safely. A previous restoration consisted of a number of patches adhered to the reverse, one of which was visible on the front in a narrow diagonal strip of missing original material. Treatment included removal of previous repairs such as patch removal, starch paste residue reduction, and localized stain reduction, humidification, and physical stabilization. Heavy cotton patches adhered to the back with starch paste imposed stresses and tears to surrounding areas. Humidification made patch removal relatively straightforward, however a residue remained. A methyl cellulose poultice was successful in removing the bulk of the residue, but left the paste embedded in the yarns. Complete removal of the paste was not undertaken during this treatment because it was felt it would put the gilding at risk. New backing fabric, which would be visible in the area of loss, was custom dyed to provide a good colour match using Cibacron F fibre reactive dyes. The palampore was supported by stitching the top third to the custom dyed fabric, as well as smaller patches secured to a number of other weaknesses. Display on an angled panel provided additional support while on exhibit.

Download: JCAC34 Ellis

J.CAC VOLUME 34 (2009)

A Technical and Scientific Study of Two A.Y. Jackson Paintboxes

Barbara Klempan, Marie-Claude Corbeil, Jennifer Poulin, Philip Cook

Two paintboxes that once belonged to Canadian artist A.Y. Jackson were examined and their contents analyzed. One box is in the collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) and the other in the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC). These two paintboxes represent two different periods of Jackson’s life. The OAG paintbox was used by the artist from 1936 until 1950. The CMC paintbox was used during his years in the Ottawa area from 1955 until 1968, and possibly prior to 1955 during his time in Toronto. The OAG paintbox consists of a base with a compartment that functioned as a palette and a small compartment for brushes and tools; the top of the paintbox functions as an easel and can hold up to two panels. The CMC paintbox contains tubes of oil paint and a separate palette with remnants of paint. Similar pigments were found in the oil paint left on both the OAG and CMC palettes: ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, viridian, yellow iron oxide, chrome yellow, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, orange iron oxide, titanium white, and zinc white. In addition, Prussian blue, chromium oxide green, and an organic red pigment were found on the OAG palette, while chrome green (i.e., a mixture of Prussian blue and chrome yellow), lead white, alizarin, and Vandyke brown were found on the CMC palette. Three tubes in the CMC paintbox contained pigments that were not identified on the palette: two tubes containing cobalt blue and one containing emerald green.

Download: JCAC34 Klempan et al

J.CAC VOLUME 34 (2009)

George Harbour: The First Resident Museum Conservator in Canada

Marion H. Barclay

This article explores the early evolution of conservation at the National Gallery of Canada envisioned by director Eric Brown and conservator George Harbour. The article tracks the similarities of their backgrounds and subsequent experiences in the formation of in-house conservation at the Gallery. Harbour’s early training in England is touched upon; his introduction of descriptive written reports and a selection of materials Harbour used during the course of his career are described in tabulated format and briefly explained. The article also cites the early introduction of micro-climate boxes for the protection of wood panel paintings and the recommendation by Brown and Harbour that a university science degree be a prerequisite in employing restorers.

Download: JCAC34 Barclay

J.CAC VOLUME 33 (2008)

Fire Risk Assessment for Collections in Museums

Jean Tétreault

Loss of collections in museums can be significant during a fire. It is important that museums put control measures in place to prevent a fire, to detect a fire, and to respond quickly if a fire does occur. To evaluate potential collection losses due to fire over a certain period of time, substantial information is required and there is little quantitative data for fires in museums. It was decided to obtain this data by collecting fire museum records from Canadian fire authorities as well as from fire authorities in other countries and by consulting with experts. This project has resulted in establishing fire Control Levels for museums and in creating a set of reference materials to help risk assessors evaluate the potential collection losses due to a fire. According to experts consulted in this study, having an active fire safety committee composed of staff and management is one of the key elements in fire prevention. Such a committee helps promote awareness and identify problems, as well as propose solutions and ensure that these solutions are applied to minimize risk of fire in an institution. For optimal protection, museums are encouraged to have a fire alarm system that is monitored continuously as well as an automatic fire suppression system.

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J.CAC VOLUME 33 (2008)

Conservation of the Chinese Temple Painting The Paradise of Maitreya from the Bishop White Gallery, Royal Ontario Museum

Bonnie McLean, Ewa Dziadowiec, Roumen Kirinkov

In 2005, The Paradise of Maitreya, a Chinese fresco-secco wall painting belonging to the Far Eastern Collection of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and dating to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), underwent extensive treatment to address both surface and structural problems. In the early 1930s, several years after its acquisition, the painting was mounted onto Masonite panels and installed on the north wall of the Bishop White Gallery by George Stout. The preparation of the painting fragments for mounting used a process developed by Stout and Gettens at the Fogg Art Museum. A description of this process that relied heavily on the use of polyvinyl acetate (PVA) resin will be outlined as well as a brief history of past treatments as these relate to the present condition of the wall painting and its current treatment. The treatment, carried out in 2005 involved surface cleaning and consolidation, but most specifically addressed the problem of cracking and general breakdown in the joint material between the Masonite panels. In order to address the instability in the joints, Plastazote® LD45, a closed-cell, cross-linked polyethylene foam, chosen for its flexibility and imperviousness to fluctuations in relative humidity, was used as a support for the fills between the Masonite panels.

Download: JCAC33 McLean et al

J.CAC VOLUME 33 (2008)

The Development of Foxing Stains on Samples of Book Paper after Accelerated Ageing

Natalie Boruvka

The term foxing is used to describe red-brown spots that develop on some paper objects over time. Recent research provides some evidence that foxing results from localized accelerated oxidation of cellulose. In this project, foxed book paper was exposed to accelerated ageing conditions to study potential changes to the foxing stains with ageing. The appearance of the selected stains was described in normal and UV light before, during and after ageing. The UV fluorescence of the stains was also monitored using a fluorescence spectrometer. Accelerated ageing caused the foxing stains to increase in discoloration in normal light and also changed their appearance in UV light. The UV fluorescence of the foxing stains decreased with ageing. Decreased fluorescence was accompanied with a shift of the peak maximum to a longer wavelength, indicating that chemical changes to the stained paper are occurring with accelerated ageing. Observation of stain development, correlated with changes in UV fluorescence, support the foxing formation theory that areas with strong UV fluorescence are precursors to discoloured foxing stains, which exhibit weaker fluorescence. The results of this experiment are considered preliminary since paper from only one book was studied.

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J.CAC VOLUME 32 (2007)

Biodeterioration and Performance of Anti-graffiti Coatings on Sandstone and Marble

Amber Tarnowski, Xiang Zhang, Christopher McNamara, Scot T. Martin, Ralph Mitchell

The ability of three commercial anti-graffiti products, Fluorolink® P56 (a fluoropolymer), Weather Seal Blok-Guard® and Graffiti Control (a silicone elastomer), and Protectosil® Antigraffiti (a silane), to provide protection from graffiti attack was evaluated on Wallace sandstone and Mississquoi marble. Results suggested that the coatings affected the colour of the stones, rendering samples darker with increased yellow values. Water absorption of the sandstone decreased with anti-graffiti coatings. The application of protective coatings can inadvertently provide a hydrocarbon source for microbial growth. To investigate this potential, anti-graffiti coatings were contaminated by common soil microbes through culture plate production and microbial isolate cultivation; the biodeterioration was measured with Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS). EIS data indicated that no coating was affected by microbes. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy in attenuated total reflection mode (FTIR / ATR) was used to note changes in coating chemistry before and after exposure to microbes. FTIR / ATR proved to be a more sensitive technique than EIS in detecting changes to the coatings and suggested that Blok-Guard® was susceptible to biodeterioration. Effective removal of paint and marker graffiti from the coatings was tested with water, ethanol (80% in distilled water), acetone, and a commercial product, Defacer Eraser® Graffiti Wipe. Defacer Eraser® Graffiti Wipe was more successful than other solvent systems in removing graffiti from stone coated with anti-graffiti coatings. When all the results were assessed together, Protectosil® exhibited the best results followed by Blok-Guard® and finally Fluorolink® P56.

Download: JCAC32 Tarnowski et al

J.CAC VOLUME 32 (2007)

A Technical Study of the Materials and Methods Used by David B. Milne in his Oil Paintings

P. Jane Sirois, Catherine Stewart, Kate Helwig, Elizabeth Moffatt, Kris M. Legate

The opportunity to collect samples from David Milne’s work presented itself in 1991 when a large number of his paintings were assembled for a Milne exhibition organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (MCAC) and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Initially a group of paintings was visually examined to determine Milne’s working methods and materials. In collaboration with the conservation department of the MCAC, over 250 samples were taken from a representative selection of 39 oil paintings spanning most of Milne’s career. The sampled paintings belonged to the Milne Family Collection, the MCAC, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the University of Toronto. Samples of paints from David Milne’s paintbox, loaned to the Canadian Conservation Institute by David Milne Jr., were also available for analysis. The analyses were carried out using the following techniques: X-ray microanalysis, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, polarised light microscopy and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Cross-sections of selected samples were also prepared and analysed by incident light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectrometry. The most common pigments identified were: lead white, zinc white, viridian, ultramarine blue, vermilion, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, and ivory black.

Download: JCAC32 Sirois et al

J.CAC VOLUME 32 (2007)

The Painting Materials and Techniques of Cornelius Krieghoff

Elizabeth Moffatt, Sandra Webster-Cook, Marie-Claude Corbeil

A study of the painting materials and techniques of Cornelius Krieghoff, a 19th-century Canadian artist (1815-1872), was undertaken. The project was initiated in 1999 at the time of the exhibition “Krieghoff: Images of Canada,” which was curated and organized by Dennis Reid at the Art Gallery of Ontario. As part of the preliminary examination of the paintings, nine unlined canvases were examined and the signatures on 130 dated paintings were documented. In the second phase, 55 paintings were chosen that spanned Krieghoff’s career and that were representative of his major subject areas: autumn and winter landscapes, Aboriginal people, Quebec country scenes and portraits. Over 300 minute samples of paint and ground layers were taken from these paintings and were subjected to instrumental analysis. Samples were analysed by X-ray microanalysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), polarized light microscopy (PLM) and, to a limited extent, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Pigment mixtures were present in many paint samples. Pigments identified include lead white, vermilion/cinnabar, red lakes, iron oxides, Prussian blue, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, bone black, cadmium yellow, chrome yellow, Naples yellow, barium yellow and zinc yellow. Some pigments were used throughout his career; others appeared to be used during specific time periods. Also investigated were certain problems inherent in Krieghoff’s materials and their uses, such as colour fading due to fugitive pigments, wrinkled paint surfaces and drying cracks.

Download: JCAC32 Moffatt et al

J.CAC VOLUME 32 (2007)

Identification of Indigo and its Degradation Products on a Silk Textile Fragment Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

Jennifer Poulin

This article describes a new technique for the analysis of natural dyes on textile fibres. The use of m-(trifluoromethyl)- phenyltrimethylammonium hydroxide (TMTFTH) extraction and derivatization, followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), has proven to be a simple and fast technique for the analysis of indigo dye on textiles. Not only does the procedure allow for the identification of the main dye component, indigotin, but it also provides information on the degradation of indigo on textiles, a topic that has received limited attention in conservation literature. This paper discusses compounds formed through the reactions of TMTFTH with indigotin and the main degradation products of indigo, 2-aminobenzoic acid, isatin and isatoic anhydride. In addition, a new degradation product has been tentatively identified as 2-benzyl-3-indolinone. The occurrence of these degradation products was investigated in samples obtained from an Indian textile from the Sultanate period (13th-15th centuries) belonging to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, woven, in large part, from indigo-dyed blue silk fibres. During a period of storage, pale yellow discolorations gradually appeared on tissue paper used to wrap the textile. Analysis of the tissue paper determined an abundance of indigo degradation products, in particular anthranilic acid (2-aminobenzoic acid). These compounds formed on the textiles fibres through oxidative degradation and subsequently volatilised to the surface of the paper, and also to the neighbouring fibres.

Download: JCAC32 Poulin

J.CAC VOLUME 31 (2006)

Chlorine Determination in Archeological Wrought Iron by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis

Lyndsie Selwyn, Vasilike Argyropoulos

One of the challenges in treating chloride-contaminated archaeological iron is determining the effectiveness of conservation treatments. Evaluation of different treatments is possible if it can be determined what fraction of chloride ions is removed by a particular treatment. In this paper, preliminary results are presented of the measurement of the chlorine concentration in small wrought iron artifacts before and after treatment using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). These results are compared to the chloride ion concentrations in the treatment solutions as determined by potentiometric titration. The conservation treatments are based on immersion of the iron samples for 18 weeks in alkaline solutions of either ethylenediamine (5% v/v and 20% v/v) or sodium hydroxide (2% w/v and 0.01% w/v) at 22°C and 50°C. These results illustrate the potential usefulness and limitations of INAA as a non-destructive analytical tool for determining chlorine concentration in small iron artifacts or samples.

Download: JCAC31 Selwyn & Argyropoulos

J.CAC VOLUME 31 (2006)

Issues Related to the Conservation of a 19th-Century Swell-body Sleigh

Sue Warren

The conservation of transport collections poses many challenges within a museum context. Visitors and enthusiasts often expect to see restored and “as new” vehicles on display, a standard which has been accepted for generations. It is increasingly difficult to find historic vehicles in unrestored condition, and it is the duty and responsibility of museums to preserve them when they are acquired. Conservation must not only treat the object, but must address the attitudes of museum staff, public programming, and the visiting public, and seek to foster an appreciation for the original materials and the history of use of the object. The treatment of an Albany Cutter swell-body sleigh described in this article covers a variety of materials and techniques common to horse-drawn vehicles. While the techniques are similar to those used in other branches of conservation, the challenge in a composite object like a sleigh, is in combining and adapting the techniques of painting conservator, textile conservator and metal conservator to a single object. The treatment involved removal of discoloured varnish layers, consolidation of friable paint using Acryloid B72 and BEVA 371 Original Formula, and cleaning and support of fragile textiles. Equally challenging and interesting is the discussion that must occur concurrent with conservation treatment, to help interpret the objectives of the treatment and to ensure that those fall within the ethics and guidelines of our profession.

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J.CAC VOLUME 31 (2006)

The Re-Treatment of an Inuit Bead Skin Parka

Heather Dumka

This paper describes the treatment of a badly damaged Inuit parka made of caribou skin and decorated with heavy, beaded fabric panels. The parka was originally repaired in 1967 when most of the panels were restored by re-beading and lining with new fabric, and the skin was repaired with sewn leather patches. This earlier restoration distorted the shape of the parka and did not stabilize the skin, resulting in further tears. The re-treatment of the parka involved removing all of the previous skin repairs as well as the beaded panels. Tears and losses in the skin were patched using BEVA 371 sprayed onto a spun-bonded nylon fabric (Cerex). The parka was then lined with Cerex to provide additional support for the beaded panels, which were stitched back into place. One of the panels, which had not been previously restored, was stabilized and lined onto new fabric prior to reattachment.

Download: JCAC31 Dumka

J.CAC VOLUME 30 (2005)

Réminiscences du temps des bisons : la restauration des pétroglyphes de Bromptonville

André Bergeron, Louis Gagnon

In the fall of 1963, two amateur archaeologists discovered an assemblage of petroglyphs on slate in the Saint-François river bed, in Estrie (Eastern Townships), Quebec. These glyphs consist largely of various inscriptions, some anthropomorphic-zoomorphic motifs as well as abstract symbols incised into a rocky outcrop. Their provenance may be culturally mixed (Native and other), and they likely date from between 1740 and 1815, although this remains an estimate. A year after their discovery, the archaeologist who had taken an interest in the site, concerned that the petroglyphs were at risk, decided to have them removed. This article highlights the history of these petroglyphs from their discovery and travels, through their long years of obscurity in storage after removal from the site, to their rediscovery. It was decided, when the petroglyphs were once again uncovered in 1995, to undertake the restoration of two segments for display at the Sherbrooke Musée de la nature et des sciences. In 2002, these petroglyphs were put on display, an example of the only petroglyphs found in the Eastern Townships. The treatment consisted of: cleaning; stone consolidation; and loss compensation where this was necessary to reinforce the structure. Display mounts were constructed that conform to the shape of the underside of the stones and that provide stability and security during display.

Download: JCAC30 Bergeron & Gagnon

J.CAC VOLUME 30 (2005)

Web-based Infrared Spectral Databases Relevant to Conservation

Signe Vahur, Kristina Virro, Ivo Leito

Infrared spectroscopy is one of the most useful analytical methods available to art conservators today. This cost-effective method can be used to identify most organic as well as some inorganic compounds (most binders, fillers, and also some pigments); however, it is impossible to do this without reference spectra. Besides the commercial infrared (IR) spectral databases, there are numerous free infrared spectroscopy resources on the World Wide Web. This paper discusses several of such very good, and freely accessible, IR spectroscopy resources that cover most of the needs of conservators; some of the best-known commercial IR spectral databases are also reviewed. The focus of this paper is mostly on the spectra of traditional materials (mostly pre-20th century artists’ materials). The paper also discusses a number of recent articles that are related to material studies and present various useful spectra for conservation purposes. Many of the sites discussed will be known to experienced infrared spectroscopists, but it is hoped that this paper will be a useful review of reference resources for museum professionals new to the field of infrared spectroscopy.

Download: JCAC30 Vahur et al

J.CAC VOLUME 30 (2005)

Health and Safety Concerns Relating to Lead and Lead Compounds in Conservation

Lyndsie Selwyn

The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of the health hazards of lead, its alloys and compounds, as they are among the most hazardous materials found in association with cultural property and are often encountered by conservators in the course of treatments. Lead toxicity is described and a general survey is presented of the types of objects or materials where lead might be encountered in cultural heritage sites and institutions. When dealing with lead-containing materials, conservators, as well as all others who treat, handle or dispose of lead, need to follow the relevant occupational and environmental laws. In Canada, applicable occupational health and safety laws depend on where one lives and for whom one works. Resources, including current websites, are provided for locating the federal, provincial, and territorial legislation as well as some provincial lead guidelines relating to exposure limits, and environmental and medical monitoring. General information is given for engineering controls (isolation, ventilation), administrative controls (personal hygiene, housekeeping, storage and disposal of hazardous waste), and personal protective equipment (respirators and protective clothing). Guidelines are provided for conservators working with lead-containing objects or lead-based pigments on painted surfaces so that they can recognize lead and lead corrosion and protect themselves, those working around them, and their families at home from lead poisoning. Analytical methods for the detection of lead in paint, including spot tests, are briefly described.

Download: JCAC30 Selwyn

J.CAC VOLUME 29 (2004)

A Decision-making Protocol for the Use of Historic Musical Instruments

R.L. Barclay

The issue of the categorization of working museum objects is raised, and a prototype decision-making protocol for historic musical instruments is described. A rating system is demonstrated that assigns numerical values to instruments according to the criteria of rarity, risk and state. Examples are provided that could be used to interpret the final numerical scores. Some advantages and drawbacks of the prototype are discussed. It is emphasised that this is a prototype only, and that refinement to suit individual applications would be essential.

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J.CAC VOLUME 29 (2004)

The Effects of Water Exposure on Surface Characteristics of Acrylic Emulsion Paints

Linda Owen, Rebecca Ploeger, Alison Murray

As acrylic emulsion paint is a relatively new artistic medium, much about its properties and conservation remains unknown. The low glass transition temperature of acrylic paints causes the paint surface to be soft and slightly tacky at room temperature, thereby attracting dirt and dust which can become embedded. The cleaning of acrylic paintings continues to be a subject on which there is little consensus, with conservators using a variety of dry and wet techniques. This study, as part of an ongoing project, focused on the effects of water on the surface of the paint film. Colour and gloss measurements, visual examination, light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy were used before and after exposure of the samples to water to characterize the surface and the effects of contact with water. Different paint colours (titanium white, black, burnt umber, ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson) from different manufacturers were swabbed or immersed for either one minute or 24 hours in distilled water. As formulations from different manufacturers continually change, the object of the study was to identify trends, rather than results that would remain constant over time. The swabbed samples showed very little or no colour change, but gloss changes were measurable. For all manufacturers, titanium white samples showed the least amount of colour change after swabbing and immersions and ultramarine blue samples showed the greatest. In this experiment, swabbing or immersing the samples did not cause components of the paint to appear on the surface, but in some instances, did disperse or remove materials already on the surface.

Download: JCAC29 Owen et al

J.CAC VOLUME 29 (2004)

Technical Analysis of Textile Remains from a 17th-Century English Plantation at Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Cathy Mathias, Elizabeth Moffatt, Alison Murray

A wide range of textiles was recovered from the archaeological excavation of a privy and elsewhere inside the palisade of Sir George Calvert’s first English colony, established in 1621 in what is now Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. These textile fragments were compared to those in museum collections in England and Canada. Many of the samples with higher thread counts (over 15 per cm either in the warp or weft) are finely woven silk and worsted wool representing the “New Draperies” of the period. These fine fabrics, at times coloured with expensive dyestuffs and including fancy trims, constituted high fashion in the 17th century. The moist and almost anaerobic environment of the privy allowed for the excellent preservation of protein-based fibres. Because these small finds were deemed useful for research, a minimal intervention approach to treatment was taken. A number of silk fabrics survived burial, including satin, damask, ribbon and velvet, but the majority of the surviving collection is wool. Dyestuffs have been identified on 26 of 59 samples analysed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and include madder (alizarin and purpurin), cochineal (carminic acid), logwood and weld (luteolin). Tannin components (ellagic acid and gallic acid) were detected in some samples. Scanning electron microscopy coupled with X-ray energy spectrometry (SEM/XES) was undertaken; the presence of chromium, aluminum and iron could not positively be attributed to their use as mordants. The identification of the “New Draperies” and expensive dyestuffs such as cochineal confirms the presence of a gentry class among the 17th-century English colonists in Ferryland.

Download: JCAC29 Mathias et al

J.CAC VOLUME 29 (2004)

A Study of Painting Materials from the Studio of Yves Gaucher

Kate Helwig, Marie-Chantale Poisson

A retrospective exhibition of Yves Gaucher’s work was recently organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. This exhibition, which opened in 2003, was the starting point for a research project on the studio painting materials of the artist. The three main aspects of the project were: to gather documentary information about the artist’s technique, to develop a database of the materials found in his studio, and to analyse selected paint materials from the studio to determine their chemical composition. A total of 375 samples were taken from the studio, documented in a database, and archived for future use. Analysis of 36 of the purest materials was undertaken using scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and polarized light microscopy (PLM). The documentation and analysis provided information about the working methods and materials of the artist. Gaucher used a wide range of modern materials; three different types of acrylic media and a large number of pigments were identified. The pigments included organic compounds such as naphthol reds, Hansa yellows and phthalocyanine green, among others. Inorganic materials included pigments such as cadmium reds and yellows, iron oxides and ultramarine blue, as well as an unusual extender, nepheline syenite, a sodium potassium aluminum silicate.

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J.CAC VOLUME 28 (2003)

The Use of Simmering Water in the Treatment of a Nineteenth Century Sketchbook of Iron Gall Ink Drawings by James G. Mackay

Maria Trojan-Bedynski, Frida Kalbfleisch, Season Tse, P. Jane Sirois

This paper describes an approach to the conservation treatment of a sketchbook from the collection of Library and Archives Canada. The J. G. Mackay sketchbook consists of drawings that are severely damaged by iron gall ink corrosion. Two different treatments were considered for the sketchbook: calcium phytate treatment, recently developed at the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN), and the “boiling,” or as the authors prefer to describe it, “simmering” water treatment, based on the experiments of Austrian conservators and treatments carried out in a few European laboratories since the 1970s. Analyses were also carried out to investigate the efficiency of the simmering water treatment by monitoring the wash water’s pH, iron concentration and UV absorbance (indicating the presence of soluble salts). This report will describe the difficult process of choosing the optimal treatment and its ethical significance, along with a detailed description of the simmering water treatment.

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J.CAC VOLUME 28 (2003)

Treatment of an Inuit Waterfowl Foot Skin Bag from Arctic Québec

Hildegard Heine

This paper describes the examination and conservation treatment of a small Inuit skin bag made out of waterfowl foot skin. Analysis and identification of the materials were carried out using incident light microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and visual comparisons with foot skins of known mounted species. Assessment of skin degradation was done by hydrothermal microscopy (shrinkage temperature measurement). The main challenges to overcome in the treatment of the object were the many distorted tears in the extremely thin skin, the restricted access to the interior of the bag, and the degree of deterioration indicated by the low shrinkage temperature. After extensive investigation into appropriate conservation materials and techniques, the following treatment was carried out: the skins were softened through humidification in a chamber with ethanol/water vapor followed by local treatment with an ultrasonic mister; the bag was reshaped first using a cotton copy of the bag filled with fine sand and then using tools which included spoons and ladles mounted on a specially designed tilting vice; realignment and temporary facing of the tears were done with Klucel G and Japanese paper; the tears and holes were backed using BEVA 371 and Japanese paper and inpainted with watercolors; where necessary, consolidation of delaminating keratin scales on the outer skin was carried out with Acryloid B-72; finally, a mount and a box were designed to ensure safe transportation, handling and storage of the bag.

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J.CAC VOLUME 28 (2003)

Setting the Stage at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres: Conservation of the Butterfly Scenery Flats

Janice M. Passafiume

This paper describes the history and treatment of the Butterfly Scenery Flats, an original painted theatre set used for light interior comedy routines in the vaudeville era. The flats date from 1915 to 1920 and were used in the Loew’s vaudeville theatre in Toronto, now known as the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres. Conservation treatment of the matte, glue distemper paint on stretched canvas involved the following processes: detailed documentation, surface cleaning using sponges and erasers, local consolidation with Acryloid B-72, Rohatol B500, and also dilute gelatin applied using a mini-suction plate and a nebulizer mister, reinforcement of canvas folds with BEVA film and polyester fabric strips, reintegration of losses using acrylic gesso, UVS matte varnish, Methocel, and chalk pastels in application methods that compensated for the visual limitations and ageing properties of the materials, and finally, cami-lining. A selection of the Butterfly Scenery flats was installed in the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres in 2001.

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J.CAC VOLUME 28 (2003)

Preserving Letterpress Copybooks

Kyla Ubbink, Roberta Partridge

In the fall of 2002, several letterpress copybooks from both the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Molson collections required attention, necessitating discussions of appropriate treatment methods and options. The books are large, hold a vast number of thin pages, possess valuable archival information and are suffering from iron gall ink corrosion. The goal of this project was to determine and to carry out an efficient and effective method for stabilizing the damage to facilitate access. The use of solvent activated adhesive-coated tissue was explored as a means of strengthening the paper. Tissue was coated with either Klucel G or a solution of methyl cellulose and wheat starch paste and three methods of re-activating the adhesive and applying the repair tissue were investigated: (1) applying the solvent while the tissue was in-situ; (2) dipping the tissue into the solvent before applying it to the document; and (3) moistening the tissue on blotters before applying it to the document. Concerns focused around the potential migration of the corrosive materials in the ink caused by excess moisture introduced during treatment, and the flexibility and strength of the repairs. After discussing the methods in which letterpress copybooks were created, the manner in which the inks corrode, the condition of the books, treatment options and the results of the trials, it was concluded that repairs with Klucel G-coated tissue followed by proper storage was the most effective method of stabilization for these volumes.

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J.CAC VOLUME 27 (2002)

Some Lining Techniques Using BEVA Solution and BEVA Gel: Notes from the Bench

Laszlo Cser

BEVA adhesive products can be used in a wide range of lining processes. With BEVA Gel, cold lining can be undertaken where the painting in question is either heat, heat and pressure sensitive or where size or surface configuration preclude the use of heat. BEVA Gel can also be used successfully in conjunction with BEVA 371 for lining to a laminate system where localized or overall heating is admissible. These treatments are time-tested and have proven to be successful both in preserving the character of the painting and in maintaining long-term stability combined with reversibility. The techniques described in this note are based on methods developed by Gustav A. Berger.

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J.CAC VOLUME 27 (2002)

The History and Conservation of a Halkett Inflatable Rubber Boat

Heather Place Beerling

The conservation of rubber is a topic that has received little attention by museum conservators in comparison to the treatment of other materials. This made the study of a Halkett inflatable rubber boat a great challenge. It was later discovered to be one of only two known existing inflatable Halkett rubber boats in the world, its mate belonging to the National Museums of Scotland. It is a very important artifact not only to the museum and the cultural history of Manitoba, but also to the conservation and museum community as a whole. The boat and its accessories were cleaned, and possible methods to soften the deteriorated rubber were reviewed. This article discusses the history of the boat and Mackintosh Fabric, the treatment of the boat and its accessories, and storage and exhibit options.

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J.CAC VOLUME 27 (2002)

Une étude des matériaux et des techniques de Jean Dallaire

Marie-Claude Corbeil, Kate Helwig, Claude Belleau, Yanick Rainville, Karen Lawford

A retrospective exhibition of the works of Jean Dallaire organised by the Musée du Québec provided the opportunity to examine 129 works and analyse the materials of 25 of them (21 oils and four gouaches) executed between 1935 and 1962. Instrumental methods employed were scanning electron microscopy/X-ray spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and polarized light microscopy. Data obtained on the supports, grounds, and pigments are presented. Various supports were used by the artist: cardboard, canvas board, canvas (made of linen or cotton), particle board and plywood. The supports of all paintings examined as part of this study had a ground layer, either commercially-prepared or artist-applied. The artist’s technique frequently used superimposed, small brush strokes of paint. Dallaire, a master colourist, favoured the use of a rich and vibrant palette. Forty-five different pigments were identified in the 25 works analyzed, both organic (such as hansa yellows and hansa orange) and inorganic. The examination of a great number of works and the analysis of the materials helped to identify and explain certain conservation problems encountered with Dallaire’s works.

Download: JCAC27 Corbeil et al

J.CAC VOLUME 27 (2002)

A Comprehensive Conservation Survey of the Vancouver Art Gallery Permanent Collection

Sarah Spafford-Ricci, Tara Fraser, Monica Smith

A conservation survey at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia, has transformed the gallery’s ability to preserve and manage its collection. The landmark project, which took two years to complete, entailed the taking of inventory, examination and documentation of 6,108 works of all media. For each work, survey conservators recorded basic data (such as location, dimensions, materials) and reported in detail on its condition and conservation needs. Data was recorded on four survey forms for each of paintings, paper, photographs and objects (including sculpture). The forms contain a condition report specific to each media (emulating the detail and qualifiers of a standard report), and several conservation assessment and prioritization fields that are uniform across all media. Data is stored on a specially designed database from which gallery staff may create or extract reports on the character, condition and conservation needs of works to aid in planning for exhibits, loans, research or conservation projects. The survey has resulted not only in condition and conservation reports for almost all works in the gallery’s collection, it has also created a permanent conservation documentation system for future acquisitions.

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J.CAC VOLUME 26 (2001)

Conservation of the Punic Collection at the Museum of Carthage. Part III – Transfer of Museological Technologies: Establishment of a Conservation-centred Didactic Gallery

Vanda Vitali, Peter Gale, Ursula M. Franklin

This is the third and final part in a series of articles featuring a multifaceted conservation undertaking known as the University of Toronto-Museum of Carthage Project. The article focuses on the development of a didactic gallery (titled “Science and Archaeology: A Meeting in Carthage”) in Tunisia at the Museum of Carthage and the museological approach taken to present the conservation work done during the project. The paper describes: an initial display to inform visitors about the research and conservation conducted at the museum; the development of a museological approach to a permanent educational gallery (the story line and the artifact display); the design of the gallery (the exhibit components, layout and architecture); and the collaborative efforts of the various partners (including conservators, museologists, local architects, graphic designers and the Tunisian media). As with the two preceding parts, the article demonstrates the expanding role of conservation projects—and as a consequence, of conservators—to areas well beyond the treatment of artifacts.

Download: JCAC26 Vitali et al

J.CAC VOLUME 26 (2001)

Le traitement d’une porte de cabine découverte lors de la fouille du Lady Sherbrooke

Patrick Albert, André Bergeron, Bernard Vallée

In June of 1993, a painted wooden door, along with its frame, was discovered during the last season of excavation on the site of the Lady Sherbrooke. This steamship was, as of 1817, one of the first to navigate the St. Lawrence. The door was immediately sent to the Centre de conservation du Québec for stabilization. This paper will outline the main stages of treatment carried out on the door: impregnation of the wood using polyethylene glycol, freeze-drying, and consolidation of the paint layers. Following the successful treatment of the different wood components of the door, the decision was made to reassemble the door using a wooden support frame to allow for and to facilitate the exhibition, handling, and storage of the door. During the course of treatment details of the different paint applications revealed the decorative history of the cabin doors of the Lady Sherbrooke.

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J.CAC VOLUME 26 (2001)

The Conservation of Moosehair Embroidered Birch Bark Souvenirs

Amandina Anastassiades

This paper describes an approach to the conservation of moosehair embroidered birch bark souvenirs from the collection of the McCord Museum of Canadian History. After testing a variety of materials and procedures, the following treatment strategies were adopted: surface cleaning was carried out with deionized water; broken and lifting hairs were consolidated and tacked down with wheat starch paste; splits in the bark were repaired with wheat starch paste and a two-ply Japanese tissue/mulberry paper backing; areas of loss were filled with Japanese tissue and inpainted. An appendix summarizes dye and fibre analysis of moosehair samples using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, incident light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

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J.CAC VOLUME 26 (2001)

Materials Analysis of a Japanned Long Case Clock

Kate Helwig

This paper describes the scientific analysis of the original materials of an eighteenth-century japanned long case clock from the collection of the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. Analysis showed that the wood was prepared with a thick gesso layer composed of calcium carbonate (chalk) in a protein medium. This white ground was followed with a single application of an opaque, light blue layer pigmented with indigo, lead white and calcium carbonate, also in a protein medium. The coloured japanned layers, applied on top of the light blue layer, are composed of translucent layers of smalt in a natural resin medium, followed by layers of unpigmented natural resin. In both the coloured japanned layers and the unpigmented layers, the natural resin was found to be from a tree source rather than shellac. Raised decoration was produced with a paste of calcium carbonate mixed in a drying oil medium applied to the surface and then sealed with natural resin. Examination of selected surface decorations showed the use of gold leaf, powdered brass and powdered tin, all applied to a mordant pigmented with vermilion. Pigments employed for the painted decoration included iron oxide pigments, carbon black and vermilion. The materials identified on the clock are compared to those described in historic treatises on japanning.

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J.CAC VOLUME 25 (2000)

The Materials and Techniques of Tom Thomson

Marie-Claude Corbeil, Elizabeth Moffatt, P. Jane Sirois, Kris M. Legate

The materials and techniques of Tom Thomson were studied through the analysis of thirty of his oil sketches and paintings, executed between 1912 and 1917, the year of his death. Instrumental methods employed for the purpose of this analysis were: scanning electron microscopy/X-ray spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and polarized light microscopy. Data obtained on the supports, preparation layers and paint are presented. Thomson painted primarily on small birch panels. When he painted on other supports, he often chose to imitate the colour of wood by applying a light brown priming prior to painting. For works on canvas, he seems to have used mainly linen canvases. His colours were achieved by using complex mixtures of pigments, and he used the same mixtures for both his sketches and paintings. The pigments that were most frequently found are alizarin lake, vermilion, cadmium yellows, cobalt yellow, viridian and ultramarine.

Download: JCAC25 Corbeil et al

J.CAC VOLUME 25 (2000)

Evaluation of Storage Solutions for Archaeological Iron

Charles G. Costain

This study, carried out between 1983 and 1985, focusses on the evaluation of six solutions for their effectiveness as storage solutions for archaeological iron. These are aqueous solutions of sodium carbonate (1%), sodium hydroxide (1%), alkaline sulfite (0.5 M sodium hydroxide and 0.5 M sodium sulfite), and ethylenediamine (2%), seawater (synthetic) and deionized water. Groups of about 30 wrought iron nails from either a land or a marine site plus a pure iron coupon were stored for one year at room temperature in each of the six solutions; the dissolved oxygen and chloride ion concentrations in the solutions were monitored regularly. After one year in the storage solutions, 75% of the nails were treated (by ethylenediamine (5%, 60°C), alkaline sulfite (60°C), or hot washing) and the remaining 25% were assessed for susceptibility to corrosion by exposing their cross-section to open air at about 50% relative humidity. Alkaline sulfite and sodium hydroxide solutions were the most effective solutions for storing archaeological iron and are recommended. The sodium carbonate solution was less effective. The ethylenediamine solution, synthetic seawater and deionized water are not recommended because of the probability of iron corrosion during storage.

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J.CAC VOLUME 25 (2000)

Conservation Treatment of The Mi’kmaq Prayer Book

David J. Hanington

This paper describes the treatment of a rare Mi’kmaq prayer book, written in a hieroglyphic script, that belongs to the Conne River Miawpukek Band (Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi, Council of the Conne River Micmacs) in Newfoundland. The manuscript was in an extremely vulnerable and deteriorated state. The leather cover was badly damaged and completely separated from the grey cover boards. The pages of the text block were dirty and water stained. In addition, there were tears and missing areas of paper. Several pages were detached from the text block and required the assistance of Mi’kmaq educator Helen Sylliboy to position them correctly in the manuscript. During the examination, Ms. Sylliboy intimated that due to the spirituality of the Mi’kmaq prayer book, it would be more respectful to leave it untouched. This led to a meeting in Conne River to discuss the treatment options, including that of not treating the prayer book. The Conne River Miawpukek Band Council Members opted for full conservation treatment. Treatment consisted of surface cleaning, washing and leaf-casting the folios, and rebinding the text block in a limp parchment cover. A padded book jacket, solander boxes to house the newly bound volume and original cover and binding materials, and a Plexiglas display stand were also constructed.

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J.CAC VOLUME 25 (2000)

A Paintings Conservation Project in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa – Project Management at Work

Anita Henry

Government institutions are increasingly out-sourcing large, on-site conservation projects to the private sector. Conservators interested in competing for such projects are expected to prepare a bid according to the specifications found in a document called a Request for Proposal (RFP). Since an RFP is most often written by a manager or a group of managers, it is no longer enough to simply prepare the technical and cost components of a proposal. The conservator must also demonstrate an ability to plan in advance all aspects of an on-site project. An understanding of basic concepts of project management is necessary for the preparation of the technical proposal and for eventual project implementation. The conservation project of the eight World War I Memorial paintings hanging in the Senate Chamber of the Canadian Parliament Buildings was one such project where an RFP was used in the tender process. The following article will describe the RFP as well as the author’s subsequent response. The article will also describe the site, how it affected the design of the on-site conservation studio, issues of scheduling, and work activity planning and constraints. The author hopes that it will be useful to conservators—whether private or institutional—who must plan for on-site projects.

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J.CAC VOLUME 25 (2000)

Conservation of the Punic Collection at the Museum of Carthage. Part II – Transfer of Conservation Technology: Establishment of a Salvage Conservation Laboratory

Vanda Vitali, Ursula M. Franklin

This article is the second in a series of three articles featuring the University of Toronto-Museum of Carthage Project, a multifaceted conservation project in which the role and responsibility of conservators extend beyond the treatment of artifacts. The article focuses on the “technology transfer” approach developed to establish a small salvage conservation laboratory at the Museum. It describes the methodology as well as some of the specific results of this project: design and installation of the laboratory; development and adaptation of practical conservation treatments; training of local personnel; examination and classification of approximately 11,000 objects and treatment of over 2,000; and creation of a teaching manual, documentary film, and didactic exhibitions at the Museum.

Download: JCAC25 Vitali & Franklin

J.CAC VOLUME 24 (1999)

Conservation of the Whitby Saurians – Large Scale, on Site Geological Conservation in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Katherine J. Andrew

This paper describes the in situ conservation of a wall-mounted vertical display of large Jurassic fossil marine reptiles, or Saurians, at Whitby Museum in North Yorkshire. The project commenced in September 1994 with a survey; the subsequent report contained an eight point plan to conserve the specimens and improve collection care and presentation. After funds were raised, five complete ichthyosaurs, one complete plesiosaur, one complete teleosaur (or crocodile), six partial marine reptile specimens, and two sets of dinosaur footprints were treated. Conservation problems addressed were the removal of a badly degraded surface consolidant, treatment of pyrite decay, and remounting of loose sections of specimens where original mounts dating from the mid-nineteenth century had failed. Working in situ in a vertical plane meant that bench techniques had to be specially adapted and a temporary laboratory had to be constructed within the museum. The project was initiated from a base 380 kilometres away so all equipment and materials were transported to the site. Conservation was carried out by a team of conservators in three phases over three years and was completed in May 1997. The project was awarded the runner-up prize in the 1998 UK Conservation Awards.

Download: JCAC24 Andrew

J.CAC VOLUME 24 (1999)

Metal Ion Catalysed Oxidation of Skin: Treatment of the Fur Trim and Collar on a Velvet Cape

Carole Dignard, Gaelen Gordon

The black furskin trim and collar on a velvet cape from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century showed extensive tears and severe loss of tensile strength. The probable cause of degradation was metal ion catalysed oxidation. The furskin contained approximately 6,000 ppm of copper and 20,000 ppm of iron, most probably present as mordants. The dye could not be identified, but black dyes typically used on fur during this period were oxidation dyes such as Ursol D, or a combination of aniline black for the hair and logwood or an oxidation dye for the skin. Treatment consisted of physical stabilization through mechanical cleaning, backing with a Tetex polyester fabric sprayed with Beva 371 solution, and infilling with suede or dyed sheepskin. Various other treatment options, such as the use of stabilizers and metal chelates, are discussed even though they were not used. Oxygen depletion is suggested as a possible method of preventing future degradation, and the Russell effect discussed as a means of monitoring degradation.

Download: JCAC24 Dignard & Gordon

J.CAC VOLUME 24 (1999)

A Starch-based Ground Layer on a Painting Attributed to Louis Dulongpré

Kate Helwig, Debra Daly Hartin

Technical examination of an oil painting on canvas attributed to Louis Dulongpré has provided insight into the nature of the ground layer responsible for the poor condition of the work. The paint and ground layers exhibited extensive cracking, cleavage, cupping and loss throughout. Cross-sections from several areas of the painting were examined and components were identified using a combination of X-ray microanalysis, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and polarized light microscopy. The examination showed that three distinct ground layers were applied to the canvas before the portrait was painted. Cross-sections and X-radiographs provided evidence that these ground layers had cracked even before the application of the paint layers. The first ground layer applied to the canvas was found to be composed of starch, protein, gypsum and a red iron oxide pigment. The presence of a high concentration of starch granules in this layer indicated that the material was not heated sufficiently to form a paste. This explains the lack of cohesion within the ground layer and the ensuing cracking and cleavage. Although the use of pigmented, starch-based preparatory layers is mentioned in documentary sources, this type of ground has rarely been identified in a painting.

Download: JCAC24 Helwig & Daly Hartin

J.CAC VOLUME 24 (1999)

Conservation of the Punic Collection at the Museum of Carthage. Part I – Mapping the Collection: Methodology, Classification and Assessment

Vanda Vitali, Ursula M. Franklin

In recent years, conservation projects have become increasingly multifaceted undertakings in which the role and involvement of conservators has expanded beyond the treatment of artifacts. This paper, the first in a series of three articles, reports on one such multifaceted research and salvage conservation project: the joint University of Toronto-Museum of Carthage Project, undertaken between 1989 and 1992. The project had several interrelated aspects: (a) the inventory, classification, and evaluation of the Punic collection of the Museum of Carthage; (b) the assessment, conservation, and storage of the artifacts; and c) the museological presentation of the collection and of the work accomplished. This paper discusses the first aspect of the project. To analyze and evaluate the collection, assembled over time and from various sources, a materials-based statistical approach was developed. In this approach large assemblages of artifacts of the same material were considered as populations and assessed according to parameters of design, size, scale, and aspects of technology and craftsmanship. This method emerged as the most helpful way to extract relevant information from a collection now detached from its context. The methodological approach developed here allows the exploration, in a scientifically justifiable manner, of a large collection of antiquities assembled prior to the development of current methods and cross-referencing systems. It may be useful to other scholars, curators, and conservators faced with similar problems of extracting information from large collections and deciding how to proceed with preserving them.

Download: JCAC24 Vitali & Franklin

J.CAC VOLUME 23 (1998)

The Acquisition, Management, and Conservation of Industrial Objects at Parks Canada

Mary Devine

A description of the acquisition, management and conservation of industrial artifacts at national historic sites managed by Parks Canada is presented. Early on, many sites were acquired as a result of transfers from other federal government departments. A System Plan was put in place in 1981 to overcome the imbalance in themes within the system; at that time, a high priority was given to the acquisition and preservation of industrial sites. In 1994, Parks Canada published Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies which includes the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Policy. The policy describes a strong organizational ethic embodied in a set of principles. Methods of industrial conservation at Parks Canada which evolved over many years are now applied within the guidelines of the CRM Policy. Conservation has moved from traditional techniques involving stripping and repainting to methods involving much less intervention in the 1990s in an attempt to preserve as much original material as possible. A short history of this evolution is presented. Some Parks Canada industrial sites are described as examples of the diversity within the system and the evolution of industrial conservation methods, while other sites or objects are referred to in the context of specific conservation techniques. Various approaches to mechanical cleaning and coating are discussed. Health and safety issues in industrial conservation are also addressed, in particular, the hazard posed by lead dust on site.

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J.CAC VOLUME 23 (1998)

A Note on the Use of Vacuum Clamping to Treat Damaged Parquetry on a Bombe Writing Desk

Daniela Kolbach

Fulford Place in Brockville, Ontario is home to a turn-of-the-century Louis XV style “Bureau de Dame” bombe writing desk. This composite artifact consists of a wooden carcase, a variety of veneers, metal ornament or ormolu, a clock, and wired candelabra lights. This technical note focuses primarily on the manner in which lifting and replacement veneer was reattached to the substrate using a vacuum clamping method. This method is suitable for curved surfaces and other areas that are problematic to clamp. While the technique is not new, vacuum clamping has more applications than was previously realized. A description is provided of the procedure and the materials required.

Download: JCAC23 Kolbach

J.CAC VOLUME 23 (1998)

A Reversible Structural Fill of Decreasing Compressive Strength for a Large, Decayed Wooden Sculpture

Eleonora Nagy

This paper describes the use of an epoxy resin/glass microspheres composite material to build a structural fill for a decayed, larger­than-life-size wooden sculpture. The fill, approximately 30 x 30 x 60 cm, supports the weight and maintains the balance of the sculpture and has a gradually decreasing compression resistance as it approaches the irregular, decayed surface of the wood. Concentrations of the fill material were chosen based on stress-strain curves obtained for various concentrations of composite samples. Basswood blocks were also inserted between composite layers to reduce the amount, and therefore the cost, of resin required. Treatment included building the fill in layers, inpainting, and reinstalling the sculpture on a base.

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J.CAC VOLUME 23 (1998)

L’utilisation de la chromatographie en phase gazeuse couplée à la spectrométrie de masse à trappe d’ions pour la mise en évidence de colophane à l’état de trace

Marie-Christine Papillon, Nathalie Balcar, Clothilde Gross, Georges Brunel

Determination of the presence of rosin in the supports of works of art on paper is very important for their conservation, in particular if an alkaline treatment is involved. This determination is impossible with classic methods if the samples are very small, especially in light of the fact that rosin represents only a small percentage of the total weight of the sample. A method has been developed using an ion trap mass spectrometer coupled to a gas chromatograph which allows for the identification of a few picograms of the acids characteristic of rosin.

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J.CAC VOLUME 23 (1998)

A Story of Past and Present Power: The Blessing of Two Wampum Belts from the McCord Museum of Canadian History

Bruno Pouliot

In September 1994, along with Moira McCaffrey, Curator of Ethnology at the McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montreal, Canada, the author participated in a Native ceremony focused around two wampum belts from the museum collection. The ceremony proved to be extraordinary due not only to the exchange that took place between museum professionals and Native people, but also to the enhanced significance of the power of the wampum belts. In this paper, the author shares the story so that it may inspire others in similar circumstances. Indeed, many conservators are now faced with questions as to whether or not museum objects should be used during Native ceremonies and whether or not the very treatments or handling accomplished in the laboratory or during storage may in fact jeopardize the spiritual or sacred nature of the artifacts. Although there are no universal answers to these questions, there is a certain attitude that can be adopted by museum personnel to allow for a balance between the respect for physical and for spiritual integrity. One need not jeopardize the other. However a fundamental understanding of our cultural differences is essential in order to find this balance.

Download: JCAC23 Pouliot

J.CAC VOLUME 22 (1997)

Chapman à jamais – Le traitement de conservation d’une inscription de 1759

André Bergeron

On June 6, 1988, in the town of Saint-François, Île d’Orléans, near Quebec City, a fire devastated the historic church which had been built in 1734. Before beginning reconstruction, an architectural survey and an archaeological study were done. Thanks to raking light from the sun and the opportune visit of an architect, an inscription was discovered, engraved in a small section of stucco that had survived the fire: “David Chapman August the 26th 1759 Belonging to his Majestys Ship Neptune.” After preliminary consolidation of the stucco, which had been weakened by the fire, the stacco technique was used to separate the inscription area from the rest of the wall. Following subsequent consolidation in the conservation laboratory, a protective case was constructed that would permit safe display of the inscription. This article presents the different stages of the project from the removal on site, the consolidation in the laboratory, the details of the construction of the case, to the return of the inscription to the reconstructed church on October 5, 1995.

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J.CAC VOLUME 22 (1997)

Les matériaux d’Alfred Pellan

Marie-Claude Corbeil, Elizabeth Moffatt, David Miller

A retrospective exhibition of the works of Alfred Pellan, organized jointly by the Musée du Québec and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, provided the opportunity to analyze the materials of 29 of his paintings, executed between 1928 and 1966. Instrumental methods employed were scanning electron microscopy/X-ray spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and polarized light microscopy. Data obtained on the supports, grounds, paint (pigments and binding media), and varnishes are presented. Pellan used a variety of painting materials, not to mention the unconventional materials he sometimes added to the paint. For works on canvas, he seems to have used mainly cotton or linen canvases, either commercially-prepared canvases or ones that he prepared himself. Among the pigments, were found traditional pigments, such as vermilion, ochres, ultramarine and bone black; nineteenth-century pigments, such as cadmium orange and yellow, emerald green and cobalt violet; and a wide variety of pigments developed during the twentieth century, such as toluidine red, hansa yellows and chlorinated para red. For works on canvas or on panel, oil paint was always used, with the drying oil being linseed oil, safflower oil or poppyseed oil. However, Pellan used various media, such as oil paint, watercolour and ink, to create his mixed-media works on paper. Analysis of the materials provided information concerning certain conservation problems encountered with Pellan’s paintings.

Download: JCAC22 Corbeil et al

J.CAC VOLUME 22 (1997)

Treatment of a Painted Plaster Sculpture: The Bard by Emanuel Hahn

Anne MacKay

This paper describes the conservation treatment of a painted, hollow cast plaster sculpture in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, entitled The Bard, by Emanuel Hahn. The painted finish imitated patinated bronze. Treatment included the cleaning and consolidation of an extensively flaking and tenting painted surface. A wide range of adhesives was tested prior to consolidation of the cleavage using Jade 403, Acryloid B-72, or Weldbond, depending upon the nature and condition of the paint layers. Plaster losses were reconstructed with the aid of old photographs. The missing portions were modelled directly on the piece in plasticine, cast in plaster, adhered to the work and inpainted.

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J.CAC VOLUME 22 (1997)

Analysis of the Paints Used to Decorate Northern Plains Hide Artifacts during the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Elizabeth Moffatt, P. Jane Sirois, Judi Miller

An analytical study of the paints used to decorate selected Northern Plains hide artifacts in ethnographic collections is described. In addition to establishing a database for provenance studies, analysis of ethnographic paints provides useful information for the curator and conservator about individual artifacts that may assist in the selection of appropriate treatment or display conditions. Results are reported for 258 paint samples from 95 well-documented artifacts that date from the early nineteenth century to 1930. More than half the artifacts were from the Blackfoot Confederacy, i.e., the Blackfoot, Blood, and Piegan tribes. Paint samples were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray microanalysis, and polarized light microscopy. The pigments and binding media identified are compared to those described in the ethnographic literature. Traditional pigments identified include red, yellow and brown iron-containing minerals and earth colours, and green copper-containing minerals and fatty acid salts. The most important trade pigments were vermilion, chrome yellow and ultramarine blue. Both native and trade pigments were usually applied in a proteinaceous medium.

Download: JCAC22 Moffatt et al

J.CAC VOLUME 22 (1997)

Design of a Rock Art Protective Structure at Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Ian N.M. Wainwright, Henry Sears, Stefan Michalski

The design of a protective structure for a petroglyph site in Petroglyphs Provincial Park north of Stony Lake, Ontario, Canada is described. The site, which is called Kinomagewapkong (“The Rocks that Teach”) by the Ojibwa Anishinabe Nation, consists of several hundred glyphs pecked into a sloping marble outcrop. The site was damaged by frost and algal weathering and was vulnerable to vandalism. A structure was built over the site to control visitor access and to protect it from rain and snow in order to mitigate biodeterioration and physical weathering. Earlier studies of the site, following its rediscovery in 1954, are reviewed. The site was recorded using raking light photography, conventional photography and stereophotogrammetry. The preservation, interpretive, operational and design criteria for the structure are described. The decision to build the protective structure was made by the Ministry of Natural Resources (Province of Ontario) and representatives of the Native community from Curve Lake First Nation in consultation with the authors. The protective structure was opened in May 1985; the site has been stabilized and further natural weathering has been prevented. The structure provides for controlled visitor access to the site, including access for the disabled, visitor circulation around the site, unobstructed viewing of the petroglyphs, and evening viewing of the petroglyphs with raking light illumination.

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J.CAC VOLUME 22 (1997)

A Technical Note on the Treatment of Tin Plate: The Five Percent Solution

Colleen Day

The treatment of a collection of tin-plated iron objects is described. Rust was removed from the surface of patinated tin plate using 5% citric acid thickened with gelatine. The thirty-six objects were treated in the context of a redevelopment project at Green Gables, a historical house in Prince Edward Island National Park.

Download: JCAC22 Day