The conservation treatment of an album of cyanotypes from the 1880s.


This half leather photograph album has cloth sides and gilt titling on the spine. The boards are loose and the corner leather is missing. The edges are badly abraded. The spine is missing. The cloth on the boards is very worn, with water staining and extensive losses. The front pastedown has a major tear, which was crudely mended with glue in the past. The flyleaves are loose and torn. The entire album is extremely soiled. The mounts are extremely acidic, but they remain intact. The mounts have a large degree of planar distortion probably as a result of the adhesive used to mount the photographs. There is little evidence of damage to the photographs because of the mounts. The hinging cloth is brittle, with many tears and splits resulting in most of the leaves being loose. Several hinges have patent information stamped or printed on them.

Conservation treatment:

The original boards, mounts and flyleaves were retained. The boards, edges and margins of the mounts were dry cleaned to remove surface soiling. The volume was disbound and the extant hinges were removed from the mounts. The existing hinge strips were replaced with new 2-ply archival mat board. The mounts and new hinge strips were joined together with heavyweight kozo paper using 50/50 Jade 403 PVA/methyl cellulose mix.

There are new inner hinges of kozo paper. The spine was lined twice with heavyweight kozo paper using wheat starch paste. There is also an extended lining of heavyweight kozo paper adhered to the new inner hinges using wheat starch paste. The flyleaves were mended with kozo paper using wheat starch paste. The appearance of the crude repair on the front pastedown was reduced by filling the losses with matching kozo paper using wheat starch paste.

The loose cloth on the boards was re-adhered using Jade 403 PVA. The corners were stiffened with wheat starch paste, and heavyweight kozo paper was used to fill the losses. The volume was rebacked with heavyweight kozo paper using 50/50 Jade 403 PVA/methyl cellulose mix. The textblock was adhered to the case with a hollow tube, extended linings and new inner hinges. The repair materials on the boards and new spine were toned with acrylic pigments.