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Family Heirlooms Restored

Lord's Prayer  drawing before and after conservation treatment.

Lord's Prayer drawing before and after conservation treatment.

Treasured family heirlooms often come to us for restoration, and these projects are some of the most gratifying to work on. Paper-based items like family bibles, marriage certificates, portraits and photographs of ancestors can suffer damage over time that make them fragile and difficult to access. Whether you're doing genealogy research or passing things along to your children, its important to consider the condition of the object and treat it gently and safely.

We can restore your heirlooms and bring items back to their original glory by repairing and cleaning the materials, stabilizing them so that they can be safely handled, and provide advice on proper storage. Through conservation treatment, your objects can be preserved for your family to treasure for many more generations.

Lord's Prayer, hand drawn and lettered by the owner's grandfather, dated 1837.

Lord's Prayer, hand drawn and lettered by the owner's grandfather, dated 1837.

This beautiful piece came to us recently for restoration. The hand-drawn and lettered image was executed by the owner's grandfather in 1837; the delicate penmanship had been obscured by heavy brown discolouration, caused by adhesive and the acidic backer backer board. 

The acidic backing must be removed carefully from the verso to protect the piece.

The acidic backing must be removed carefully from the verso to protect the piece.

Spot testing the brown discolouration.

Spot testing the brown discolouration.

Preparing the drawing for bleaching.

Preparing the drawing for bleaching.

The treatment was a multi-step process, beginning with the removal of the backer board. This acidic wood-pulp material had caused much of the discolouration, and needed to be removed before any cleaning could be undertaken. 

Once the backer was removed, the piece underwent testing to determine its response to washing and bleaching. Both processes were successful and the staining was significantly reduced over the course of several applications. 

Three washes removed much of the brown.

Three washes removed much of the brown.

The drawing was washed and bleached in stages; the progression is shown here.

The drawing was washed and bleached in stages; the progression is shown here.

The drawing after conservation treatment, in it's original period frame.

The drawing after conservation treatment, in it's original period frame.

After treatment, the piece is restored to a relatively bright and clean state. Some evidence of age is retained - it doesn't look like it was made yesterday - but the paper is clean enough that the delicate ink and penmanship can be appreciated once again. It was reinstalled in its lovely original wooden frame, but with acid-free backer and UV-filtering glass to protect it in the future. The family can now treasure this artwork for many years to come. 

If you have family heirlooms that could benefit from restoration, we are always available to discuss treatment options. Get in touch with us for a consultation and we will be pleased to help you preserve your family's history. Or, check out our portfolio of conservation of archival materials for more examples of our work.

Conservation Treatment of Watercolour Architectural Drawings

Set of 7 watercolour architectural drawings, tightly rolled before conservation treatment.

Set of 7 watercolour architectural drawings, tightly rolled before conservation treatment.

Architectural drawings are not only archival documents, but can also be beautiful artworks in their own right.

Book and Paper Conservation Services recently treated a set of seven watercolour architectural drawings depicting details of the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton, Ontario. The treatment involved humidifying the tightly rolled drawings, surface cleaning to remove dirt and grime, removal of tape and adhesive residue from the back of the works, and finally framing in acid-free materials to preserve and safely display these gorgeous watercolours.

The watercolours were exquisite works of art, and we were thrilled to be part of the project! Read more about the process and see the results on the Diocese of Hamilton website.

Conservation Treatment:  Watercolours from the Cathedral Collection

 

If you have architectural drawings or other archival materials you or your organization are interested in having restored, contact us to discuss conservation options. And check out our treatment portfolio to see other treatment projects we've undertaken on documents and records!

Art Conservation: Original Sketch by London Artist "Ting"

Conservation of original art on paper is one of our specialties at Book and Paper Conservation Services. This piece, a charcoal sketch by London artist Ting (Merle Tingley, b. 1921) of his trademark character Luke Worm, recently came to our studio for treatment.

Luke Worm  sketch by Merle Tingley, before conservation.

Luke Worm sketch by Merle Tingley, before conservation.

Luke Worm  sketch in raking light, showing creases.

Luke Worm sketch in raking light, showing creases.

 

The sketch dates to the 1960s, and was a gift by the artist to the owner, who met him while touring the London Free Press as a student.

Executed in charcoal on a thin, wood pulp paper, the loosely drawn lines give a lively and charming quality to the character of the worm.

 

The paper had been stored folded into multiple panels for many years; creases disfigured the page, and the charcoal media had transferred to the bare paper opposite the design.

Ting sketch after surface cleaning.

Ting sketch after surface cleaning.

The paper was surface cleaned to remove the transferred charcoal media, with care taken not to disturb any of the original media. It was then humidified to relax the creases and flattened under weight. Finally, several small tears were repaired with Japanese tissue.

Luke Worm  by Merle Tingley, after conservation treatment. The work was framed in acid-free materials and UV filtering glass. 

Luke Worm by Merle Tingley, after conservation treatment. The work was framed in acid-free materials and UV filtering glass. 

The sketch was framed for display in acid-free materials, with UV filtering glass. It is now safely preserved, and will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Check out our other treatments of fine art on paper, or get in touch if you have questions about having works of art conserved.