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Conserving Government Propaganda prints from the Great War

Follow Mar Mateo, Emily O'Reilly and Beth McIntyre as they conserve the museums own complete set of 66 works from the 1917 print portfolio “The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals”, commissioned by the Ministry of Information.

Divided into ‘Ideals’ and ‘Efforts’, these lithographs provide a broad and fascinating representation of Britain’s war objectives, military activities and effort on the Home Front.

Some of the best known British artists of the period contributed to the series including Augustus John, Frank Brangwyn, William Rothenstein and C.R.W Nevinson.

May 2014

FIGHTING AGAINST FOXING

Posted by Maria del Mar Mateo on 22 May 2014
Close up foxing detail, before treatment. ‘Ready for sea’ by Muirhead Bone.

Close up foxing detail, before treatment. ‘Ready for sea’ by Muirhead Bone.

Close up foxing removed detail, after treatment. ‘Ready for sea’ by Muirhead Bone.

Close up foxing removed detail, after treatment. ‘Ready for sea’ by Muirhead Bone.

Do you want to know what happened after washing one of the lithograph prints??

So here you are, the before and after washing treatment where you can see that the foxing spots have disappeared completely over the paper surface.

As we said before, the foxing reddish-brown spots can appear in the paper surface due to different causes. For example, the print has been exposed to relative humidity and temperature fluctuations for a long period of time creating an environment for the growing of mould or another possibility, could be that during the paper making process were used raw materials infested with mould.

These micro-organisms can remain latent for months or years awaiting for the appropriate conditions for growth and there are a wide range of colour stains. In some of the lithograph prints we found basically small yellow spots in different areas of the paper surface.

HOLBEIN WATERMARK

Posted by Maria del Mar Mateo on 9 May 2014
Holobein watermark shown using transmited light

Holobein watermark shown using transmited light

Example of a paper makers mould showing how might have looked.

Example of a paper makers mould showing how might have looked.

Horton Kirby Mill, South Darenth, Kent in 1872

Horton Kirby Mill, South Darenth, Kent in 1872

Hello again!

This week we are going to talk about the watermark found on the lithograph prints.

Do you know what a watermark is? Well, the watermark is a design or a pattern which is made during the paper production by the paper makers. The first paper mill which introduced a watermark in its papers was Fabriano, Italy in 1282. A watermark is made by attaching wire in a shape or letters to the mould, the sieve which catches the fibres making a sheet of paper. This then causes the paper to be thinner in this areas. Another way to make a watermark is impressing a water-coated metal stamp or dandy roll onto the paper during manufacturing. Watermarks can show us the manufacturer’s name, an animal, geometric designs, etc.

If you hold a bank note against the light you will be able to see a watermark!

During the lithograph prints conservation process we found in many thinner papers a Holbein watermark. After some research, we discovered that Holbein paper was a handmade printing paper sold by Spalding & Hodge, 145-7 Drury Lane, London WC. At the end of nineteenth century Spalding & Hodge were the owners of paper mills at East Malling in Kent also they bought Horton Kirby Mill, South Darenth, Kent in 1872.

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