THE CONSERVATION OF A SHENANDOAH VALLEY FRAKTUR
Elizabeth C. Hollyday
Paper Conservator, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, Virginia.
Wust, Klaus, “Fraktur and the Virginia German,” Arts in Virginia, Virginia Museum, Richmond, Va., 1974, p. 9.
Seitz, May A., The History of the Hoffman Paper Mill in Maryland, Holliday Press, n. p., 1946, p. 23.
Wust, Klaus, Virginia Fraktur: Penmanship as Folk Art, Shenandoah History, P. O. Box 98, Edinburg, Va. 22824, 1972, p. 16.
Ibid., pp. 8, 10.
Ibid., p. 6.
Acryloid B72 (an ethyl methacrylate copolymer) is a non-darkening surface coating which has been tested and found to be stable by Dr. Robert Feller, The Mellon Institute, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213.
A fourth reason for using soluble nylon was the belief that it could be removed if necessary; since treating the fraktur the conservator had learned that soluble nylon may not be reversible and may darken with time.
Weidner, Marilyn, “The Repair of the Wall Charts from the Cloister at Ephrata, Pennsylvania,” Conservation of Paintings and the Graphic Arts, The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, The Lisbon Congress, 1972, pp. 975–983.
The wheat starch was obtained from TALAS, 104 Fifth Ave., N. Y. 10011. Recipe for wheat starch paste. Wheat starch (Aytex General Mills): Take one part wheat starch, and slowly stir in three parts deionized water. Refrigerate covered for several days by which time the starch should be a hard mass in the bottom of the container. Pour off the water. Take some of the soaked starch, e.g. 8 oz. and put it in the top of a double boiler. Add approximately 2 1/2 times (20 oz.) as much deionized water as starch, slowly to the pan. Actually, a Japanese method of adding water bit by bit and testing the amount be letting it roll off the fingers is used. Cook the starch in the double boiler over high heat, stirring constantly. The entire cooking time will be about one-half hour. To preserve the paste for one week, a couple of drops of Eugenol (oil of cloves) is mixed with the cooked paste (Refresher Course in Paper Conservation, Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Cooperstown Graduate Programs, Cooperstown, N. Y. 13326, 1974).
Had a light table been available, the largest losses could have been outlined with a pointed sable brush on the Japanese paper and pulled as above.
Japanese brushes, papers, and strainer purchased from Washi No Mise, 2583 Turk Hill Rd., Victor, N. Y. 14564. The 1970 catalog describes the brushes and their care.
Before using the wheat starch paste, it is strained through a strainer (Norikoshi). Made of horsehair, stainers require careful cleaning after use to keep the mesh open.
Purchased from Appleton Mills, P. O. Box 1899, Appleton, Wisconsin 54911.
Unless otherwise indicated most of the materials in the foregoing procedure may be obtained from TALAS. For other sources see Anne F. Clapp, Curatorial Care of Works of Art on Paper. The Intermuseum Laboratory, Allen Art Building, Oberlin, Ohio 44074.
The author recognizes that there were other possible approaches to preserving the fraktur. For instance, some conservators have not removed blanket chest frakturs at all, but protected them as much as possible in situ. Furthermore, the fraktur would not have been cut at the folds had these not been so deteriorated.