OBSERVATIONS ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE TREATMENT OF WORKS ON PAPER
T. K. McCLINTOCK
2 QUALITY OF RESEARCH
To continue the focus of the article “Recent Scientific Research in Paper Conservation” (van der Reyden 1992), the symbiotic relationship between scientific research and conservation practice is important and fruitful. Works on paper are distinguished by the interrelationship of fragile design media and a highly impressionable fiber matrix support. Any material introduced or procedure undertaken can have a whole and lasting impact on the appearance and condition of the work. For example, while carrying out a treatment the conservator may observe empirically that washing promotes suppleness or that stain reduction with light seems more gentle than with chemical bleaching agents. Our research colleagues may not only confirm these qualitative observations, but they may also through more quantitative methods assist the conservator in comparing alternative procedures or in determining optimum lengths of time for a procedure to be effective. Because conservators seek to minimize the element of risk during treatment, such research with bases in genuine practice has been given great currency.