"Non-Destructive Characterisation and Dating of Historic Parchment Using Near Infrared Spectroscopy" by Možir et al (2011)

Možir, A.; Strlič, M.; De Bruin, G.; Trafela, T.; Kralj Cigić, I.; Kolar, J.; Deselnicu, V.; "Non-Destructive Characterisation and Dating of Historic Parchment Using Near Infrared Spectroscopy", International Conference on non-destructive investigations and microanalysis for the diagnostics and conservation of cultural and environmental heritage (ART 2011), 13-15 April 2011, Florence, Italy

Parchment is a complex natural material made from animal skin, which has been used as a writing support and for bookbinding. Due to the historic value of objects made of parchment, understanding of their degradation and their conservation is of high importance to archives, libraries and museums. It was recently shown that lipid content in parchment may have an important influence on collagen degradation, probably via autoxidation. For parchment, a direct link between lipid content and degradation has, however, still not been demonstrated. The goal of this research presented here was to introduce NIR spectroscopy as a new non-destructive spectroscopic method of characterization of proteinaceous historic materials and to examine the relations between lipid content and degradation of parchment, measuring shrinkage temperature.


"The Bourdichon Nativity: A masterpiece of light and colour" by Burgio et al (2009)

Burgio, L.; Clark, R. J. H.; Hark, R.; "The Bourdichon Nativity: A Masterpiece of light and colour", V&A Conservation Journal 58 (2009) 36-37


"Microstructural, chemical and isotopic evidence for the origin of late neolithic leather recovered from an ice field in the Swiss Alps" by Spangenberg et al (2010)

Spangenberg, J. E.; Ferrer, M.; Tschudin, P.; Volken, M.; Hafner, A.; “Microstructural, chemical and isotopic evidence for the origin of late neolithic leather recovered from an ice field in the Swiss Alps”, Journal of Archaeological Science 37(8) (2010) 1851-1865
doi:10.1016/j.jas.2010.02.003 (restricted access)

Archaeological leather samples recovered from the ice field at the Schnidejoch Pass (altitude 2756 m amsl) in the western Swiss Alps were studied using optical, chemical molecular and isotopic (δ13C and δ15N of the bulk leather, and compound-specific δ13C analyses of the organic-solvent extracted fatty acids) methods to obtain insight into the origin of the leather and ancient tanning procedures. For comparison, leathers from modern native animals in alpine environment (red deer, goat, sheep, chamois, and calf/cow) were analyzed using the same approach. Optical and electron microscopically comparisons of Schnidejoch and modern leathers showed that the gross structure (pattern of collagen fibrils and intra-fibrils material) of archaeological leather had survived essentially intact for five millennia. The SEM studies of the hairs from the most important archaeological find, a Neolithic leather legging, show a wave structure of the hair cuticle, which is a diagnostic feature for goatskins. The variations of the bulk δ13C and δ15N values, and δ13C values of the main fatty acids are within the range expected for pre-industrial temperate C3 environment. The archaeological leather samples contain a mixture of indigenous (from the animal) and exogenous plant/animal lipids. An important amount of waxy n-alkanes, n-alkan-1-ols and phytosterols (β-sitosterol, sitostanol) in all samples, and abundant biomarker of conifers (nonacosan-10-ol) in the legging leathers clearly indicate that the Neolithic people were active in a subalpine coniferous forest, and that they used an aqueous extract of diverse plant material for tanning leather.


"3D Micro-XRF for Cultural Heritage Objects: New Analysis Strategies for the Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls” by Mantouvalou et al (2011)

Mantouvalou, I.; Wolff, T.; Hahn, O.; Rabin, I.; Lühl, L.; Pagels, M.; Malzer, W.; Kanngiesser, B.; “3D Micro-XRF for Cultural Heritage Objects: New Analysis Strategies for the Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls”, Analytical Chemistry 83 (16) (2011) 6308–6315
DOI: 10.1021/ac2011262 (restricted access)

A combination of 3D micro X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (3D micro-XRF) and micro-XRF was utilized for the investigation of a small collection of highly heterogeneous, partly degraded Dead Sea Scroll parchment samples from known excavation sites. The quantitative combination of the two techniques proves to be suitable for the identification of reliable marker elements which may be used for classification and provenance studies. With 3D micro-XRF, the three-dimensional nature, i.e. the depth-resolved elemental composition as well as density variations, of the samples was investigated and bromine could be identified as a suitable marker element. It is shown through a comparison of quantitative and semi quantitative values for the bromine content derived using both techniques that, for elements which are homogeneously distributed in the sample matrix, quantification with micro-XRF using a one-layer model is feasible. Thus, the possibility for routine provenance studies using portable micro-XRF instrumentation on a vast amount of samples, even on site, is obtained through this work.


"Conservation of an 18th century targe: stabilization and visual reintegration" by Skogstad (2010)

Hilde Skogstad, "Conservation of an 18th century targe: stabilization and visual reintegration", University of Olso, Institutt for arkeologi, konservering og historie, Master student report (2010)

For historical leather objects which have suffered deterioration in the form of tears, splits and areas of losses, a suitable conservation treatment will often be to add some form of structural support in order to stabilize and prevent further damage. This can be done by inserting repair patches or even a full relining underneath the original material. Although a relevant approach, this form of treatment is not a straightforward one as there is a range of decisions to be made both in terms of repair material, adhesive and the practical, hands- on task of adding the new material without risking or compromising the original. Choices should be based on the condition of the object as well as take into account well known conservation issues like reversibility and minimal intervention. Even if not a first priority, aesthetic considerations will also in most cases be present in the decision making process, maybe more so when the object is historical as opposed to archaeological.
The following case study discusses the conservation of an 18th century Scottish targe from the collections at Leeds Royal Armouries, a project in which several of the above mentioned issues had to be considered in order to stabilize the object and at the same time visually reintegrate areas of damage and losses.


"El influjo renascentista en las encuadernaciones de la Biblioteca Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca" por Miguélez González (2009)

Miguélez González, Elvira Julieta; “El influjo renascentista en las encuadernaciones de la Biblioteca Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca”, Anales de Documentación 12 (2009) 181-208

La encuadernación es una técnica que consiste en unir los pliegos u hojas del libro con la cubierta, formando un conjunto unitario para su mejor conservación y facilidad en el uso que nace con un fin eminentemente funcional, protegerlo contra las agresiones exteriores. Al mismo tiempo, este revestimiento del libro va a admitir una decoración u ornamentación, que generalmente está sujeta a las influencias técnicas y decorativas de cada época y que hace participar a la encuadernación en las artes decorativas. Si su objetivo fundamental es utilitario, es decir de protección y manejabilidad, su segunda función, también esencial, es la de embellecer y revalorizar su contenido. Por tanto contribuye a la elaboración de la historia del libro y, también, a través de la encuadernación se pone de manifiesto el gusto de cada época que conjuga la técnica con la belleza de las formas.

The last stage of the elaboration of the majority of books is the bookbinding. This one consists of uniting the sheets or leaves of the books with the cover, forming a unitary set for its better conservation and facility in the use. It appears when the book adopts its square form and is born with an eminently functional aim, to protect it against the external aggressions. At the same time, it is going to admit a decoration or ornamentation that is generally subject to the technical and decorative influences of every time. Thus then, the bookbinding has two aspects: the technique and the art; is utilitarian, is to say of protection and manageability, his second function, also essential, is to embellish it and to upgrade its content. Its study is one of the tasks that contribute to the elaboration of history book. Through her, the taste of every time is shown, aside from the global vision of an applied art, which conjugates the technique with the beauty of the forms.


Encuadernaciones artísticas, exposición virtual, Biblioteca de la Universidad de Navarra, España

Encuadernaciones artísticas

Las encuadernaciones proporcionan el primer contacto físico y visual de los libros. Las encuadernaciones tienen una razón de utilidad y también estética, que las introduce en la historia del arte con sus estilos artísticos, y ponen de manifiesto el gusto de cada época.
La Biblioteca de la Universidad de Navarra ha incorporado a lo largo de su corta historia una interesante colección de libros antiguos procedentes fundamentalmente de donaciones.
El estado de conservación de los libros se acusa de forma particular en las encuadernaciones, desgastadas por el uso, rozadas inevitablemente por la madera de los anaqueles y dañadas en sucesivos traslados desde antiguo. La restauración, que no llegó a todos los libros, se debe principalmente a Garazi Valverde Bilbao, también a Sergio Robles Salgado y a Blanca Gallejones Gutiérrez.
En la exposición se ofrecen de forma sistemática ejemplares representativos de cada estilo artístico. Las mejores piezas son las góticas y platerescas, también las románticas. Cuando falta alguna muestra representativa se exponen ejemplos de la Biblioteca Nacional de España, de la Biblioteca Municipal de Madrid, de la Biblioteca de la Universidad de Valencia, de la la Biblioteca Goyeneche y de la Librería Luces de Bohemia de Zaragoza.


"Encuadernaciones mudéjares" por Zamora (2008)

Zamora, María Isabel Álvaro; “Encuadernaciones mudéjares”, Artigrama 23 (2008) 445-481

Estudio de las encuadernaciones mudéjares de los siglos XV y XVI. En él se analizan sus características, precedentes en los talleres de encuadernación de al-Andalus y el Magreb, tipologías de cubiertas, materiales, técnicas decorativas, estética y repertorio ornamental, en las que se fusiona la tradición islámica dominante con algunos elementos propios de la encuadernación y arte occidentales.


Alaska Fur ID Project

"Alaska Fur ID project (www.a­laskafurid.wordpress.com) is an online resource created by Ellen Carrlee, conservator at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, and conservation fellow Lauren Horelick (and partially funded by the FAIC Carolyn Rose Take a Chance grant) to aid in the identification of fur on both historic and Alaskan Native objects. This easily accessible fur ID website, posted in blog format, presents a wealth of diagnostic information on nearly 50 Alaskan animal species including hoofed animals, rodents, hares, canines, felines, bears, weasels, and marine mammals."
"While the Alaska Fur ID project was inspired by the Czech Furskin website (http://www.furskin.cz/), which presents diagnostic information on skin and fur together with SEM images, the Alaska Fur ID website is specifically tailored to aid those using primarily transmitted or polarized light microscopy to identify the sources of individual animal hairs."

(Source: AIC blog, full post can be read here)  


"Anglo-Saxon inscribed sheaths from Aachen, Dublin and Trondheim" by Okasha (1992)

Okasha, Elisabeth; “Anglo-Saxon inscribed sheaths from Aachen, Dublin and Trondheim”, Medieval Archaeology 36 (1992) 59-66

Three Anglo-Saxon inscribed (leather) sheaths are discussed in detail, and compared with other contemporary sheaths for small angle-backed weapons. An appendix lists all known examples. 


"A Great Lakes pouch: black-dyed skin with porcupine quillwork" by Cruickshank et al (2009)

Cruickshank, P.; Daniels, V.; King, J.; “A Great Lakes pouch: black-dyed skin with porcupine quillwork”, British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 3 (2009) 63-72

A late eighteenth-century North American pouch (1937,0617.1) represents an important type of a black-dyed skin bag decorated with porcupine quillwork. The pouch was made by women of the Ojibwa or Ottawa people and was probably used in medicine ceremonies. It came to the British Museum in the mid-twentieth century and when first examined in detail in the 1970s had already deteriorated. The skin has degraded due to the presence of a black dye, although an early watercolour painting of the bag discovered in the 1990s illustrates how the bag once looked. Black dyes containing both iron and tannin are well known to increase the rate of deterioration of many organic substances and the pouch was found to contain 1.63% iron. Experiments with a series of brain-tanned skin samples stained with various iron-tannin solutions and artificially aged showed that the presence of iron accelerated the deterioration of the skin.
A conservation treatment carried out in the 1970s, which included consolidation with soluble nylon and backing with nylon net adhered with an early thermoplastic adhesive, was no longer succeeding in keeping the bag intact, and further conservation was carried out to protect the 75% of the bag that survives. As the pouch is of a rare type it was decided to infill the missing areas to make it more suitable for display. The use of adhesives was kept to a minimum and solvent-reactivated adhesives were chosen in preference to those reactivated by heat. No further chemical stabilization was attempted in this treatment.


"On oxidative degradation of parchment and its non-destructive characterisation and dating" by Možir et al (2011)

Možir, A.; Strlič, M.; Trafela, T.; Kralj Cigić, I.; Kolar, J.; Deselnicu, V.; Bruin, G.; “On oxidative degradation of parchment and its non-destructive characterisation and dating”, Applied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing 104 (1) (2011) 211-217
DOI: 10.1007/s00339-010-6108-z (restricted access)

Historic parchment is an extremely complex material, not only due to the various methods of production used and various past environmental histories of objects, but also due to its inhomogeneous structure. Many traditional methods of characterisation are empirical, but useful since they have gained recognition by the end-users. In this paper, we investigated the shrinkage temperature of collagen and the influence of lipids contained in parchment on the measurements. While the content of lipids does not seem to significantly affect shrinkage temperature measurements themselves, it strongly affects the decrease of shrinkage temperature of collagen during degradation, and thus its thermomechanical properties. This confirms the high importance of lipid peroxidation during degradation of parchment. While shrinkage temperature determination is a micro-destructive method, we also demonstrated that it is possible to determine this property using near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy based on partial least squares calibration. The root-mean square error of validation (RMSEV), obtained on a set of variously delipidised and degraded samples, was 7°C, so the method could be used for condition assessment or classification of historic objects. Using a set of 185 historic objects dating from 1200–1800, we also developed a method for non-destructive dating of parchment based on NIR spectroscopy using partial least squares regression (RMSEV=72 years), and successfully determined the correct age of a historic charter from the collection of Nationaal Archief, The Netherlands. 


Leather working by Hasluck (1904)

Hasluck, P. N.; Leather working, D. McKay, Philadelphia (1904)

This Handbook contains, in a form convenient for everyday use, a comprehensive digest of the information on Leather Working, scattered over more than twenty thousand columns of Work — one of the weekly journals it is my fortune to edit — and supplies concise information on the details of the subjects on which it treats.
In preparing for publication in book form the mass of relevant matter contained in the volumes of Work, much had to be arranged anew, altered, and largely re-written. From these causes the contributions of many are so blended that the writings of individuals cannot be distinguished for acknowledgement.
Readers who may desire additional information respecting special details of the matters dealt with in this Handbook, or instructions on kindred subjects, should address a question to Work, so that it may be answered in the columns of that journal.


"The re-treatment of an Inuit beaded skin parka" by Dumka (2006)

Dumka, Heather; "The re-treatment of an Inuit beaded skin parka", Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation (J. CAC) 31 (2006) 23-32

This paper describes the treatment of a badly damaged Inuit parka made of caribou skin and decorated with heavy, beaded fabric panels. The parka was originally repaired in 1967 when most of the panels were restored by re-beading and lining with new fabric, and the skin was repaired with sewn leather patches. This earlier restoration distorted the shape of the parka and did not stabilize the skin, resulting in further tears. The re-treatment of the parka involved removing all of the previous skin repairs as well as the beaded panels. Tears and losses in the skin were patched using BEVA 371 sprayed onto a spun-bonded nylon fabric (Cerex). The parka was then lined with Cerex to provide additional support for the beaded panels, which were stitched back into place. One of the panels, which had not been previously restored, was stabilized and lined onto new fabric prior to reattachment.

Cet article décrit le traitement d'un parka inuit très endommagé, fait en peau de caribou et orné de panneaux en tissu sur lesquels se trouvent de lourdes broderies en perles de verre. Un traitement datant de 1967 avait occasionné la pose de nouvelles perles sur presque tous les panneaux de broderies ainsi que de tissus de soutien sous les panneaux, et la réparation de la peau à l'aide de pièces de cuir cousus aux endroits endommagés. Ce traitement provoqua des distortions à la conformation du parka et ne réussit pas à stabiliser la peau; au contraire de nouvelles déchirures apparurent. Le re-traitement de ce parka consista à retirer les anciens rapiéçages ainsi que les panneaux perlés. Un non-tissé en nylon (Cerex) sur lequel fut pulvérisé du BEVA 371 servit à réparer les peaux déchirées et à combler les lacunes. Ensuite, le parka dans son ensemble fut aussi renforcé au moyen d'un doublage, à l'aide de Cerex et de BEVA 371, afin de mieux soutenir le poids des panneaux perlés, qui furent ensuite recousus en place. Un des panneaux, qui n'avait pas fait l'objet d'une restauration antérieure, fut stabilisé et doublé sur un tissu neuf avant d'être recousu en place.


"Creación de un protocolo de la encuadernación que permita controlar el proceso de su restauración" por Díaz-Miranda y Macías (2007)

Díaz-Miranda y Macías, M. D.; "Creación de un protocolo de la encuadernación que permita controlar el proceso de su restauración", La conservación infalible: de la teoría a la realidad, Actas del III Congreso do Grupo Español del IIC, Madrid (2007) 205-222


"La encuadernación de los libros de coro (...)" por Bueno Vargas (2005)

Bueno Vargas, J.; “La encuadernación de los libros de coro: las cubiertas de los cantorales de la Abadía del Sacromonte de Granada”, PH Boletín del Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico 53 (2005) 58-69

Los libros de coro constituyen una tipología muy específica dentro de la historia del libro. Su uso en diferentes instituciones religiosas condicionó tanto su formato, estructura y encuadernación, como los materiales con que se realizaron y los acabados que éstos recibieron. Hoy en día destacan por el mal estado de conservación que en general presentan al haber quedado almacenados en vitrinas o archivos o en sótanos, buhardillas o armarios. En este artículo nos centramos en las particularidades de una colección de cantorales cuyo núcleo principal se confeccionó durante los siglos XVII y XVIII, analizando tanto los materiales como los acabados y sistemas de protección de la encuadernación. Son éstos elementos fundamentales en esta tipología y su estudio suele quedar relegado cuando se abarca el análisis de alguna de estas colecciones. Sirva este trabajo para dedicarles la atención que merecen, no sólo como obras de arte que son, sino por su valor antropológico como objetos fundamentales para entender a la sociedad que los creó y los consideró elementos indispensables en los ritos religiosos.


"Leather material found on a 6th B.C. Chinese bronze sword: a case study" by Luo et al (2011)

Luo, W.; Si, Y.; Wang, H.; Qin, Y.; Huang, F.; Wang, C.; "Leather material found on a 6th B.C. Chinese bronze sword: a case study", Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 79(5) (2011) 1630-1633
doi:10.1016/j.saa.2011.05.023 (restricted access)

During July to November, 2006, an important archaeological excavation was conducted in Yun country, Hubei province, southern China. Chinese archaeologists found some remnant of leather materials, covered with red pigments, on a 6th century B.C. Chinese bronze sword. To understand the technology/ies that may have been utilized for manufacturing the leathers, a combined of Raman spectroscopy, FT-IR and XRF was thus applied to the remnant of leather materials. Raman analyses showed that red pigment on the leather was cinnabar (HgS). FT-IR and XRF analyses indicated that the content of some elements, such as Ca (existing as CaCO3) and Fe (existing as Fe2O3), were much higher than those in the surrounding grave soil. The results inferred an application of lime depilation and retting, and the Fe–Al compound salt as tanning agent. And it was furthermore implicated that the Fe–Al salt tanning technique had been developed in the middle and late Spring and Autumn Period of China.


"Tannins characterisation in new and historic vegetable tanned leathers fibres by spot tests" by Falcão and Araújo (2011)

Falcão, L.; Araújo, M. E. M.; "Tannins characterisation in new and historic vegetable tanned leathers fibres by spot tests", Journal of Cultural Heritage 12(2) (2011) 149-156
doi:10.1016/j.culher.2010.10.005 (restricted access)

This paper describes the adaptation and evaluation of three chemical tests for tannins characterisation in vegetable tanned leathers. Tests were performed on fibres of new leathers tanned with different known vegetable tannins and historic leathers. Rhodanine test, nitrous acid test and acid butanol test, developed to identify, respectively, gallotannins, ellagitannins and condensed tannins, are described. Ferric test and vanillin test, the two traditional tests used for vegetable tanned leathers characterisation, were also performed and their usefulness discussed. Gallic acid, ellagic acid and catechin, structural constituents of the different classes of tannins were also tested. Results of the developed methodology allowed the identification of tannins’ chemical class in new and historic leather samples studied. Data obtained permitted to verify the information on tanning materials used in new leathers. Vegetable tanning technology was confirmed in historic samples and tannins were characterised. This study shows that these tests are useful and can be a valuable source of information to evaluate new vegetable tanned leathers quality for conservation and restoration purposes as well as historic leathers tanning technology.


Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, 1510, The MET Museum of Art

"Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizam [Shiraz, Iran] (13.228.6)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/13.228.6 (March 2007)


The leather specimen book by La Croix (1917)

La Croix, F. W.; The leather specimen book, Milwaukee (1917)
URL (Internet Archive)

The many requests for information about leather that are constantly received by the advertising department of the Pfister & Vogel Leather Co. from merchants of leather goods and teachers and students in schools and colleges prompted the publication a few years ago of "How Leather Is Tanned." This pamphlet in a few mimeographed pages undertook to tell in a simple, concise fashion the essential facts in the manufacture of leather and to fill in some measure the almost total lack of descriptive, non-technical works on tanning.  Though a great many copies of "How Leather Is Tanned" have been supplied to interested persons, it has been evident that it went only part way with regard to instruction in leather and its manufacture. 
The common experience seems to have been that it is difficult to get a clear grasp of the subject without the opportunity of inspecting typical samples of leather in connection with the reading. It is as an aid in this respect that "The Leather Specimen Book" has been prepared. Used in connection with "How Leather Is Tanned" it aims to give a knowledge of leathers and the process of tanning sufficiently complete for all purposes not connected with practical tanning. 
On account of the almost unlimited variety in methods of finishing leather it has been possible to show only the most common and representative types of finishes. In using this book to identify leather it should be kept in mind that a tanned skin may be embossed and finished so as to have its true nature totally disguised.


Anchorage Loan Conservation Project: conservation case studies - NMNH kayak

Anchorage Loan Conservation Project: Conservation Case Studies  
NMNH kayak: Revising Cultural Attributions and Monitoring Change


"The use of thermal analysis methods for authentication and conservation state determination of historical and/or cultural objects manufactured from leather" by Budrugeac et al (2011)

Budrugeac, P.; Cucos, A.;  Miu, L.; “The use of thermal analysis methods for authentication and conservation state determination of historical and/or cultural objects manufactured from leather”, Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry 104(2) (2011) 439-450 
DOI: 10.1007/s10973-010-1183-0  (restricted access)

Leather products have been useful materials since the dawn of human history. Many leathers objects are valuable treasures due to the history they represent, and their preservation challenges museum custodians and private collectors alike. In this article, the applications of thermal analysis methods (Micro Hot Table (MHT), thermogravimetry/derivative thermogravimetry (TG/DTG), dynamic scanning calorimetry (DSC), differential thermal analysis (DTA), and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA)) for the characterization of the recently manufactured and old leathers are presented. These methods can be used for the assessment of deterioration degree of leathers, and, therefore, the data obtained by these techniques could be useful for achievement of the suitable preservation procedures as well as the effects of conservation treatments. In addition, it was pointed out that these methods are suitable for qualitative distinction between the recently manufactured leathers and heritage items.


"Characterisation and evaluation of the environmental impact on historical parchments by DSC" by Badea et al (2011)

Badea, E.; Della Gatta, G.; Budrugeac, P.; “Characterisation and evaluation of the environmental impact on historical parchments by differential scanning calorimetry”, Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry 104(2) (2011) 495-506

Our recent developments concerning the assessment of parchments deterioration using DSC are reported. Measurements performed on samples in excess water conditions, in static air and gas flow provided qualitative and quantitative information on parchment ageing and deterioration at microscopic and mesoscopic level, when assembly of fibres/fibrils is weakened, partially and eventually completely lost, and at molecular level, when triple helix uncoiling occurs. A damage ranking scale based on a large collection of DSC parameters obtained by investigating artificially aged samples was set up. Deconvolution of the DSC thermal denaturation peaks in excess water enabled evaluating and discriminating stability of parchments with similar damage levels. Further experimental evidences such as softening of the crystalline fraction of collagen, thermal-oxidation and collagen gelatinisation were detected by DSC measurements in gas flow and static air, and related to specific deterioration patterns. DSC measurement of wet samples provided an objective and reliable method for evaluating parchment shrinkage temperature overcoming the limitations of conventional methods.


"An easy-to-build museum saddle mount" by Shevchuk (2009)

Shevchuk, Paul; "An easy-to-build museum saddle mount", Conserve O Grams 9/2 (2009)

From the introduction:
This Conserve O Gram provides guidance on how to build a mount to support and store a large saddle with component parts (straps, stirrups) in the way it was intended to be used. This mount is strong, light-weight, and easy to move or transport, and uses cabinet space efficiently.


"Non-destructive spectroscopic characterization of parchment documents" by Bicchieri et al (2011)

Bicchieri, M.; Monti, M.; Piantanida, G.; Pinzari, F.; Sodo, A.; “Non-destructive spectroscopic characterization of parchment documents”, Vibrational Spectroscopy 55(2) (2011) 267-272
doi:10.1016/j.vibspec.2010.12.006 (restricted access)

Membranaceous substrates – widely found in library heritage– are truly challenging, due to the variety of manufacturing traditions, the intrinsic variability of the animal's skin and the different degradation patterns affecting documents along ageing. Moreover, when dealing with unique and delicate objects as cultural heritage specimens, sampling is never recommended and often explicitly forbidden. Aim of the research presented in this work is to achieve correct protocols for unambiguous characterization of the document's materials chemical structure and of the possible surface treatments.
Experimental results allow us to evidence that the chosen non-destructive techniques (Raman, ATR-FTIR and SEM/EDS) provide a good differentiation between parchment manufacturing procedures, western with lime and eastern with enzymatic treatment. Incrustations of salts on the surface as well as superficial treatment with tannin can be clearly detected. Origin of tannin – from the surface or in ink – can also be distinguished.
Choice of the better technique is sample-dependent, since preparation methods, degradation, presence of incrustations, amount of tannin, dehairing method can differently affect the spectral features. For instance, Raman appears to be the most effective molecular technique on western parchment, whereas ATR-FTIR allows distinguishing the enzymatic dehairing procedure from the chemical one.


Qur'an case, Nasrid period, Spain, 15th century, The Met Museum of Art

"Qur'an case [Spain] (04.3.458)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/04.3.458 (October 2010)"
Leather embroidered with gilt-silver wire.


"L'évolution des différentes méthodes de tannage" par Thuau (1921)

Thuau, U.; "L'évolution des différentes méthodes de tannage", Le Cuir 10(4) (1921) 80-84


"Skin tight" by McHugh (2011)

McHugh, S.; "Skin tight", The ethnographic conservation newsletter of the Working Group on Ethnographic Materials of the ICOM Committee for Conservation 32 (2011) 8-11

In 2009 an unusual and complex treatment was carried out at the National Gallery of Australia on a skin covered Janiform (two faced) mask from Nigeria. Now an important part of the National Gallery’s small African collection, the Janiform mask was already in poor condition when it was acquired in 1974. As suggested by the name, it has two faces back to back, thought to be male and female, with raised designs imitating local scarification practices. It is constructed from what is believed to be antelope skin, stretched over a two part hard wood structure, and a loss to one side of the wood had caused movement and subsequent tears and losses to the skin. Testing was carried out to determine the most effective methods and materials for the necessary repairs, based on a literature search for treatments on similar materials. A brief mention in one paper of natural skin condoms caught the conservators’ attention and these eventually turned out to be the most useful material tested and key to the success of the treatment that followed.


"Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) of new and historical parchments and leathers.." by Cucos et al (2011)

Cucos, A.; Budrugeac, P.; Miu, L.; Mitrea, S; Sbarcea, G.; "Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) of new and historical parchments and leathers: correlations with DSC and XRD", Thermochimica Acta 516, Issues 1-2 (2011) 19-28
doi:10.1016/j.tca.2011.01.006 (restricted access)

A sort of pure collagen, 22 sorts of new parchments, 35 sorts of old (14th–19th centuries) parchments, 19 sorts of new vegetable tanned leathers and 31 sorts of old (15th–19th centuries) leathers were investigated by DMA technique in tensile mode from room temperature to 260 °C. The obtained results were correlated with those determined by DSC measurements performed in N2 flow in the same temperature range and by XRD. It was pointed out that all collagen-based materials contain a “crystalline” region exhibiting a phase transition (“melting”) in the temperature range 210–260 °C, which is characterized by an endothermic peak in the DSC curve and an abrupt decrease of storage modulus in DMA. Differences in the parameters of this phase transition, related to various deterioration levels, were put in evidence and discussed.


"Biodeterioration of archeological leather" by Strzelczyk et al (1997)

Strzelczyk, A. B.; Bannach, L.; Kurowska, A.; “Biodeterioration of archeological leather”, International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 39(4) (1997) 301-309(9)
doi:10.1016/S0964-8305(97)00026-7 (restricted access) / PDF

Leather objects are frequently found in archaeological excavation. Often this material is contaminated with mineral salts which crystallize on the surface upon excavation. Unconserved finds are easily attacked by microorganisms. The microflora growing on untreated as well as conserved leather artifacts were studied. Conservation treatments investigated include: mechanical cleaning, wet cleaning, wet cleaning in Canpac solution, chemical cleaning in orthophosphoric acid, sumach retanning, Al2(SO4)3 tawed, van Soest dressing, and silicone liquor.


Die Kollagenmatrix archäologischer Funde im Vergleich zu künstlich gealterten Ledermustern historischer Gerbverfahren von Bernhard Trommer (2004)

Bernhard Trommer, Die Kollagenmatrix archäologischer Funde im Vergleich zu künstlich gealterten Ledermustern historischer Gerbverfahren, PhD Dissertation, Fakultät für Werkstoffwissenschaft und Werkstofftechnologie der Technischen Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (2004)

Ausgangspunkt der wissenschaftlichen Arbeit bildet eine Recherche historischer Leder- und Gerbarten. Die Quellen wurden auf ihren technologischen Wahrheitsgehalt überprüft. Dazu wurden über 30 Rezepturen historischer Gerbarten entwickelt und halbtechnisch erprobt. Im Ergebnis entstanden Referenzleder, welche analysiert und experimentell auf ihr Alterungs- und Abbauverhalten untersucht wurden. Die klassischen Methoden der Lederprüfung, die Elektronenstrahlmikroskopie (SEM/ EDX), die UV- und FT-IR-Spektroskopie, RP-HPLC- sowie die DSC-Analyse wurden für die Untersuchung der Referenzleder benutzt und weiterentwickelt. Die Erkenntnisse aus Recherche, technologischer Rekonstruktion, Simulation und Analyse wurden an archäologischen Lederfunden evaluiert. Das Alter der untersuchten Funde umfaßt eine Zeitspanne von 100 bis 3.300 Jahren. Bei der Wahl der Objekte wurde auf ein unterschiedliches Fundortmilieu Wert gelegt, um die Auswirkungen typischer Standortbedingungen auf die Ledermatrix zu erforschen. 


"Some Notes on the Chemical Technology in an 11th Century Arabic Work on Bookbinding" by Levey et al (1956)

Levey, M.; Krek, M.; Haddad, H.; "Some Notes on the Chemical Technology in an Eleventh Century Arabic Work on Bookbinding", Isis 47 (1956) 239–243
JSTOR (restricted access)


"Appendix: Notes on the restoration of the Behaim shields" by Faltermeier & Meyer (1995)

Faltermeier, Christel; Meyer, Rudolf; "Appendix: Notes on the Restoration of the Behaim Shields", Metropolitan Museum Journal 30 (1995) 53-60
JSTOR (restricted access) | PDF

"The seven shields of Behaim: new evidence" by Nickel (1995)

Nickel, Helmut; "The Seven Shields of Behaim: New Evidence", Metropolitan Museum Journal 30 (1995) 29-51
JSTOR (restricted access)| PDF


"Treatment and technical study of a Lakota beaded hide" by Nicole Ledoux (2010)

Nicole Ledoux, "Treatment and Technical Study of a Lakota Beaded Hide", ANAGPIC 2010 Annual Student Conference, Queen's University at Kingston Art Conservation Department (2010)

This paper discusses the conservation and technical study of a Lakota (est.) beaded hide object in very poor condition. The piece, whose original function is not known, was reported as collected in the late 19th or early 20th century by John Anderson, a photographer living on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. It was passed down through family lines until it was recently donated to the UCLA/Getty conservation program. At some point in its history, the piece suffered liquid damage that has drastically altered more than half of the hide area, causing darkening, embrittlement, and fragmentation, as well as damage to the associated beadwork, including localized staining resulting in part from bead corrosion. In order to better understand these alterations and their implications for conservation treatment, a technical study has been undertaken that includes both morphological characterization and materials analysis of the hide and tannins. Continued work has included identification of bead composition and characterization of the various alteration products, as well as consultation with tribal and museum experts about original function and appropriate loss compensation. This object provides an interesting case study for investigating the deterioration of hide and the approach taken in treating such significantly altered material.


"Cuoi dipinti a Venezia. La carità." di Vanni Tiozzo (2003)

Vanni Tiozzo; "Cuoi dipinti a Venezia. La carità.", Dipartimento Tecniche e Restauro dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, Venezia (2003) 51-54

Dalla introduzione:
I cuoi dipinti della Carità giacevano dimenticati in un cassone dipinto nella Direzione della Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. Il cambio della Direzione, quando successe il prof. Riccardo Rabagliati al prof. Antonio Toniato, impose il riordino dell’ufficio e l’attenzione della dott.ssa Rita Zanchi fece rinvenire un rullo rabberciato di colore marrone dal quale si scorgeva la parte interna dipinta. La gentile signora ne parlò con l’allora decano, il prof. Mario Guadagnino, il quale, ne aveva solo un vago ricordo e propose al Direttore di affidarli al corso di restauro affinché potessero venire meglio conservati; da questo aneddoto inizia il percorso di cui ora vi diamo conto. 


Leather and leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York by Mould et al (2003)

Mould, Q.; Carlisle, I.; Cameron, E.; Leather and leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York, Vol.17: Small Finds, Fasc.16: Craft, Industry and Everyday Life, The Archaeology of York (2003)

From the summary:
This volume, the collaborative work of a number of authors, presents the surviving evidence for the manufacture and the use of leather artefacts at York during the Anglo-Scandinavian and medieval periods. It is based around the internationally important group of Anglo-Scandinavian leatherwork from 16-22 Coppergate, along with smaller amount od medieval material recovered from the site, supplemented by groups recovered from the Coppergate watching brief, excavations at 22 Piccadilly, and at the site of the Foundry and College of Vicars Choral at Bedern. Over 5000 items of leather dating from the 9th–15th century from Coppergate and other sites in the city are represented, some 550 of which have been fully catalogued in this fascicule. The close dating of the deposits belonging to the earlier years of occupation at Coppergate makes the 9th- to 11th-century material of particular significance.