The Infill: 25 February 2015

The Infill is back for its second edition, with some news highlights you may have missed during the last fortnight…

The £10 million find of the century

The last fortnight began with the incredible news that a new copy of the Magna Carta has been discovered in the council archives in Kent, UK. With a find like that, who knows what other treasures are lurking amongst the shelves elsewhere?

In other historic document news, it appears that conservators aren’t the only ones with deft hand skills in the paper and animal glue area. Read about Abraham Lincoln’s cut-and-paste job with a copy of his speech for his second inauguration, and count yourself lucky if you’re one of the few who will see it on display during just four days next month when it goes on display at the Library of Congress.

‘Why do they do it??’

Perhaps the answer is obvious, but it’s nonetheless distressing to read about the theft of cultural property. First came news that an employee at Russia’s State Hermitage Museum library had destroyed historic books in order to remove and sell illustrations contained therein. This was followed by the report that a worker at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela has been sentenced to 10 years for stealing a 12th-century illuminated manuscript.

In the practical corner

For you this fortnight we’ve got a nice little slideshow on the conservation of some large-scale (look at the size of those hands!) Diego Rivera drawings, and not one article but two on computer imaging analysis of prints by Paul Gauguin. Meanwhile, for those of you who have ever wondered, ‘What exactly is a conservation scientist and how do I become one?’, we share a nice compact interview with Dr Bronwyn Ormsby of the Tate (also check out Part 1 on the conservation of the Mark Rothko’s ‘Black on Maroon’).

Funding and donations watch

Once again we’re happy to report on positive financial developments such as $20,000 for the New York State Archives for document conservation and digitisation. Even more financially noteworthy is the donation to Princeton University of a rare book and manuscript collection worth $300 million– check out the list of impressive included items.

Your video treat of the week

It’s neither book nor paper conservation, but it’s mesmerising. Watch as new varnish transforms an Old Master painting, bringing with it an astounding clarity and vibrance.

The final word…

… goes to Vantablack, ‘the world’s darkest material’. (Note to readers of the article: If you’ve never seen This is Spinal Tap, you won’t get the joke; and if you’ve never seen it then you really should!)

Have any comments on any of the items above? Leave your feedback below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for your daily Infill.

One thought on “The Infill: 25 February 2015

  1. Love the Abraham Lincoln write-up, it represents the old conundrum of what to do with writers’, artists’, poets’, and now presidents’ cut and paste approach to writing that so challenges conservators. I love the fact that the object is important enough to get a little diva treatment and draconian measures imposed for display. Well done to the conservators!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.