The Care And Safe Handling Of Your Antiques And Artwork


I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the feel of wind and sun on their face and/or their body while riding in a convertible on a warm summer day. There are both benefits and detriments to enjoying the elements, but what makes the absolute joy of feeling the sun, shaking your hair in the wind turn into something quite the opposite? Most doctors would say it would be lack of proper protection while you were out in the elements and the length of time spent as well.

It is the same for most of the creations that we enjoy; the items that overwhelm our senses when we see, touch or hear them.  Most of these items are 100 plus years old, and while in many of these treasures the untrained eye may not notice the small cracks in an oil painting or frame of the piece, or that the oil from your fingertips could damage papers, letters or art work that is decades old.

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Here’s some information on “Paper” from Saving Treasurers

Paper is manufactured from the cellulose fibers of plants, primarily cotton, flax, and wood. The fibers are reduced to a pulp and then formed into a felted sheet on a screen or a sieve. Types of paper include laid, woven, hand-made, or machine-made.

It is important to understand that parchment (or vellum) and papyrus are not considered paper. Parchment (or vellum) is animal hide covered in lime and dried under tension.

Papyrus is not considered paper. Papyrus is made from the moist outer skins of water reeds that have been lined up at right angles to each other and then beaten until the layers become interlocked.

I bring this up as I have recently come across family items that were not protected correctly and the historical and personal value to the family has pretty much been lost due to the age of the items and lack of proper handling. Due to humidity and poor storage, the ink on the item was unreadable in some areas and the article had been folded, so when it had been opened the folds cracked and tore the paper at those points.

In future posts we will look at environmental conditions, preservation techniques, art handling and storage ideas for personal, historical and often times valuable pieces of our history.

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