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Re: [BKARTS] odd things that one finds in a book

While not directly faulting Ms. Lightcap, I am curious if the procedure
of deacidifying text (paper) as old as 1572 is a common practice amongst
bookbinders/restorers.  The first and most obvious question would be to
ask, why was it felt that paper that old needed to be buffered against
acidic development/degradation, when it presumably has 'lived' just fine
for over 400 years.  There has been quite a lot of research about acids
in paper, and different rates of oxidation of different types of
furnish.  Linen, the common paper fiber used in Europe in the 16th
century, ages quite well.  Also, gelatine used as a size at that time
has also been observed to aid in paper permanence.  There is some reason
to believe that in washing papers of this age, we may be washing out
some of the gelatin, leaving the paper more open to future attack.

Generally, the process of deacidification (or alkalization) is used to
slow down the rate of oxidation in the future. One cannot reverse time
with this process.  Deacidification is generally reserved for papers of
the 19th and 20th centuries, which for various reasons contain many
constituents that lead to brittleness and oxidation.

Doug Sanders

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Susan Lightcap [mailto:slightcap@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 10:50 PM
> To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: odd things that one finds in a book
> When I was deacidifying text from a 1572 French medical book bound in
> limp vellum in Basil, Switzerland, I noticed that the illustrations at
> the beginning of each chapter, a male and female figure with crowns =
> above the heads, developed small areas of white as they came in
contact =
> with the deacidifying solution. The female figure had an hourglass
shape =
> from just above the breasts to just below the hips; the male figure
had =
> an inverted triangle over the groin.  Apparently I was seeing residue
> from paste that had been used to hold small "modesty panels" in place.
> Once the text was dry, the white areas disappeared.
> Susan Lightcap

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