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Re: 15th century manuscripts



On Fri, 3 Jan 1997, Dr. Brian A. Roberts wrote:

> >I have been commissioned to reproduce some 15th century letters for TV use.
> The script does not need to look authentic but the paper should. Has anyone
> a good source where samples of this sort of thing might be available or have
> tips ofr the severe aging of paper to re-create such letters which are 500
> years old.
>
> Dr. Brian A. Roberts
> Memorial University of Newfoundland

Sorry Brian, but almost all of the paper that I have seen from this era
is in almost perfect condition, and looks like it was made last week
sometime.  A common confusion is that old=browned, due to the change of
papermaking technology in the later part of last century that left a high
residual acid content, which slowly 'burns' the paper.  Hence, most of
the post 1860 paper has turned, to a greater or lesser degree, brown and
brittle, especially along the edges.  Since this paper is just 100 years
or so old, most people assume that means even older paper will be in much
worse condition.  Pre-1850 paper doesn't have this high residual acid
content, and is usually in pretty good shape, though
it may have some spotting called 'foxing'.  Pre-1600 papers that are
still around are usually in excellent condition, since they don't have
that residual acid, _and_ the type and preperation of the fiber used for
manufacture was superior to later papers.

So, you have a choice: try and educate people by using good-quality,
cream-colored paper....or meet the expectations of the viewing audience
and use paper that has been discolored and damaged.  If you want to do
that, and you don't care for the longevity of your work, then just dip
the paper in strong tea and dry in your oven at about 300 degrees f.

Good luck!

Jim


James T. Downey / Legacy Art & BookWorks, Inc.
Now with over 100 images and new featured artists at:
        http://www.legacyart.com
jdowney@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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