Treatment on the Great Parchment Book

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Part 1

With all the tests we have carried out we are now ready to start to work on the Great Parchment Book!

Surface cleaning

Prior to humidification surface cleaning is being carried out using vulcanised rubber sponges and soft goat hair brushes. The sponge works by picking up and drawing in the dirt when it is placed in contact with the surface of the object to be cleaned. With the Great Parchment Book, ideally, we would like to remove as much surface dirt as possible from the parchment to stop it being drawn into the substrate when it absorbs moisture during humidification. Also, it helps to improve the legibility of the text. However, where flaky media is present, surface cleaning has to be avoided as the sponge will pick this up too.

Area before cleaning

Area before cleaning

Area after cleaning

Area after cleaning

The ink on the sample above is very stable and so the area could be cleaned. The sponge was most effective on the area in the middle, where the dirt was sitting loosely on the surface. However, the dirt in the bottom right hand corner of this image was much more ingrained, and so surface cleaning did not improve it.

2 thoughts on “Treatment on the Great Parchment Book

    • We didn’t analyse the chemical nature of the particles present on the parchment. By visual examination the dirt looked very much as a combination of soot caused by the fire and particulate atmospheric dirt. The water used to extinguish the fire has probably caused the soot to become more compact and has allowed a firm adhesion of it on the surface. In some areas the soot penetrated deeper between the fibres of the parchment. We tried as much as possible to remove this dirt from the surface since this could be a perfect substrate for mould growth.

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