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Re: [BKARTS] Flattening rolled vellum pages

I  "Second"  Bruce's very good recommendation.
Bill Minter

On Feb 16, 2009, at 1:25 PM, Bruce Levy wrote:

It sounds like a possible first step is humidification and damp pack flattening (there are several techniques, but it's best for an experienced technician to "allow the piece" to "dictate the treatment"- not the other way around). But I suggest you find someone who has ample experience and have them do it. When you talk about illuminated leaves there's a possibility of flaking and/ or lifting of the pigment, ground and gold. There's ways to handle this, and repair lifting pigment or ground/gold but there are so many variables that to do it with instruction mostly gleaned from "words" of others who have experience is really taking a chance. Besides the lifting you have the possibility of too much moisture causing breakdown and gelatinizing. Before one embarks on such a treatment it really behooves you to "observe" (when possible, though it might not be) parchment treatment by experts. If this is a "one off" project, with no expectation of entering this specialty for yourself, have a qualified conservator do or work with you.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carolee Harrison" <carolee@xxxxxxx>
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [BKARTS] Flattening rolled vellum pages
Date:         Mon, 16 Feb 2009 10:14:31 -0800

I've been presented with a preservation project that is somewhat out of my ken and I'm hoping I can ask for advice from the collective wisdom here..

My task is to house seven manuscripts dating from the 1400s --
three sheets of music, three illuminated pages taken from separate
volumes, and a document that may be a property deed or some kind of
legal agreement.  All are written on what I think is vellum of
varying thicknesses.  The illuminated pages are decorated with gold
initials in very good condition -- everything is in very good
repair, in fact, except the more informal deed or letter, which has
some tears at the edges and is pretty dirty and faded. The
immediate problem I'm facing, though, is that all of these items
have been stored rolled-up, and they've curled up tight, possibly
permanently.  My initial ideas for storing them involved laying
them flat, but is there any way to get them flat again?  Right now
I am trying to open them gently under weight but I'm not sure it's
having any effect.  Would anyone here have any idea how best to
flatten these vellum pages, or do you think it's best to leave them

If anyone has advice for storage of these, as well, I'd appreciate
your input too!

Thanks so much!
Carolee Harrison


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA  16695
Fax:   814-793-4045
Email:    wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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