LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To The Editor:
TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT, I must take issue with several statements in Niccolo Caldararo's letter in JAIC Vol. 27, No. 2.
First of all, the translation of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities by Herman Kühn is from the second German edition, which was published in 1981 and not in 1986.
Secondly, Mr. Caldararo states that “the German edition was written for a general audience and ran to 512 pages. The current edition is 262 pages…” The implication is that the book has been drastically abridged and this implication is borne out in the last paragraph of Mr. Caldararo's letter where he states that “the new edition of Kühn has removed much of the philosophical foundations presented in the German edition.” Had Mr. Caldararo taken the trouble only cursorily to examine both the German and the English editions, he might have noticed that the English edition is published in a much larger format and set in far smaller type. In fact, a page of solid text without subheadings averages 350 words in the German edition. The subheadings that appear as hanging titles in the margins of the German edition are included in the text area in the English edition; for a wordcount I therefore chose a page in the English edition that has four subheadings but no illustrations - I counted 878 words. The English edition has not been abridged at all, except for the deletion of one recipe at the request of the author.
As for Mr. Caldararo's accusation that the book has been substantially rewritten by the author and six advisers (whom he lists), this is simply not the case. As I stated in the acknowledgements to the English edition, “terminological enquiries occasionally led to the updatind of the description of a conservation treatment or of an aspect of technology. Some other revisions were made after consultation with specialists. All have been approved by the author.” None of those who kindly gave advice, mostly in matters of abstruse terminology, rewrote the text. Any rewritting that was done (limited, pace Mr. Caldararo, to “revisions and updating of some material”) was done by me, as a result of discussions with a number of people, including those mentioned in Mr. Caldararo's letter. I fail to see hwo the updating of opinion on certain treatments, or the inclusion of new ones, can be said to “remove the philosophical foundations” of the original.AlexandraTrone51 The Pryors, East Health Road, London, NW3 1BP, England