This guest post from our conservation intern, Puneeta Sharma, continues the series of posts about the conservation of the Ferrar prints. Here she explains more of the techniques she is using to repair the prints, including some photos of the prints before and after conservation.
The purpose of humidification is to introduce moisture into the paper to enable the fibres to relax. Many of the Ferrar prints are distorted with folds and creases, therefore the application of water in a liquid or gas form is important to allow them to stay flat. Folds along edges or on the corners of the print can be humidified locally by applying water or a water and IMS (Industrial Methylated Spirit) mix. Alternatively, a damp blotter the size of the area that needs to be humidified can be placed underneath the object to allow moisture to penetrate into the fibres as a vapour. Once the object feels limp, the corners can be realigned and it can then be pressed using dry blotters and weights.
To prevent further damage occurring to existing tears, Japanese tissue is used to carry out repairs, which will strengthen and stabilise the prints. Splint repairs are carried out on large areas of damage to align tears or support loose fragments; small tabs are cut from Japanese tissue. The adhesive used to adhere the tabs onto the object is a 2.5 % solution of Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose in 100ml of deionised water. Using the tabs allows for tears or fragments to be held in place and provides physical stability when handling the object. After these areas are held in place, Japanese tissue is cut to the shape of the tear or damaged area to provide a stronger support. All repair work is carried out the verso of the prints.
The images below show the conservation work on Print No. 12 – Christ’s birth announced to the shepherds.
Below: Print No.41 – The Clemency of Scipio. This print has been treated but the next process would be to line this print if there is enough time at the end. Lining helps to strengthen an object, which is in very poor condition. Paper repairs alone would not completely strengthen this print, therefore lining is suggested and would be the most suitable treatment.