"All that glitters: conservation of a gilt leather chasuble" by Smith (2014)

Smith, Katy; “All that Glitters: Conservation of a Gilt Leather Chasuble”, V&A Conservation Journal 62 (2014)


"A 15th-century Flemish enclosed garden in cuir bouilli. Production, degradation and conservation issues of a small painting on leather" by Watteeuw & Van Bos (2014)

Watteeuw, L.; Van Bos, M.; "A 15th-century Flemish enclosed garden in cuir bouilli. Production, degradation and conservation issues of a small painting on leather", in J. Bridgland (ed.), ICOM-CC 17th Triennial Conference Preprints, Melbourne, 15–19 September 2014, art. 0703, Paris, International Council of Museums (2014)
PDF (Lirias)

An early 15th-century figurative cuir bouilli coffret lid, with remains of original polychromy, belonging to the town museum in Nivelles (Belgium), was studied and conserved in 2013. Cuir bouilli is the medieval Norman-French term for ‘boiled leather’. The technique was widespread in Flanders and Paris in the High Middle Ages. The scene depicted is an ‘enclosed garden’ with the Virgin and Child. The cuir bouilli artefact has been severely damaged by environmental conditions and previous restorations. There are large lacunas in the deformed and hardened leather support, as well as in the pictorial layers. This paper explores the historical context of the artefact, the production of the material, its use and conservation history. Results of reflectance topographic imaging (RTI) are followed by physicochemical analyses and the treatment protocol to stabilise and validate the importance of this lost technique of medieval leatherworking.


“An unusual decorated skin coat from Canada: aspects of conservation and identification” by Cruickshank et al (2013)

Cruickshank, Pippa; Cartwright, Caroline; King, Jonathan C.H.; Simpson, Antony; “An unusual decorated skin coat from Canada: aspects of conservation and identification”, British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 7 (2013) pp. 95–104.

A skin coat (Am1949,22.175), which has recently been examined and conserved, belongs to a group of about perhaps 30 surviving within museum collections and made around James Bay and Hudson Bay in northern Canada. They date to around 1760–1860 and were made by the Cree people, with possible additions by the Ojibwe/Anishaabeg in the region of the northern Great Lakes. As this group of coats is poorly understood and the coat stimulated some discussion while undergoing treatment in the conservation studio, further investigation was carried out on the materials of which it is composed. Fibre samples were identified using variable pressure scanning electron microscopy. The coat is thought to be made of moose skin but as it has been de-haired no moose hairs survived for identification. The few hairs remaining in situ on the collar and cuffs were identified as wolverine and river otter respectively. Conservation treatment enabled the cuffs to be gently folded back outside the sleeves. As the coat would originally have looked very different, before almost total loss of hair on the collar and cuffs due to past insect attack, a digital reconstruction was made to give an idea of its original appearance. The epaulettes have been quite roughly attached to the shoulders of the coat with coarse thread, suggesting that they may well have been added later, possibly from an older garment, as evidenced by the very fine but faded loom-woven quillwork and the presence of clear glass beads. The fur collar and cuffs could also have been added to the coat at this time.


CHEMCH 2014, Vienna (Austria), online posters on parchment and leather

The 3rd International Congress on Chemistry for Cultural Heritage, CHEMCH 2014, that took place last July in Austria, was hosted by the Institute of Science and Technology in Art of the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna (book of abstracts is available here).
Some of the posters presentations on leather and parchment are available online at the Congress website. The titles, the authors and the posters pdf files are as follows:

W. Vetter, G. Pöllnitz, M. Schreiner

C. Sendrea, E. Badea, H. Iovu

I. Petroviciu, C. Carsote, W. Vetter, L. Miu, M. Schreiner


La fabrication et le commerce des cuirs et des peaux par Vincent (1872)

Vincent, Charles; La fabrication et le commerce des cuirs et des peaux, Paris, Bureaux au Journal la Halle aux cuirs (1872).
URL (Gallica)


"The repair of an Alaskan Inupiaq sealskin mat with Lascaux 360 HV and 498 HV" by Lukezic (2014)

Francis Lukezic, "The repair of an Alaskan Inupiaq sealskin mat with Lascaux 360 HV and 498 HV", in Current Solutions for Mutual Issues: postprints from the Book and Paper Group’s sessions at the Icon Positive Futures conference, 10-12 April 2013, Glasgow (2014) pp. 53-55.
PDF (The Book & Paper Gathering)


The tanner’s key to a new system of tanning sole leather by Burridge (1824)

John Burridge, The tanner’s key to a new system of tanning sole leather, or, The right use of oak bark, London (1824).
URL (InternetArchive)


"Russian Yufte as ‘Russia Leather’ in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Western Bookbinding" by Tsygankova (2012)

Valeria Tsygankova, "Russian Yufte as ‘Russia Leather’ in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Western Bookbinding" (2012)


“Cluster TOF-SIMS imaging of human skin remains: analysis of a South-Andean mummy sample” by Cersoy et al (2012)

Cersoy, Sophie; Richardin, Pascale; Walter, Philippe; Brunelle, Alain; “Cluster TOF-SIMS imaging of human skin remains: analysis of a South-Andean mummy sample”, Journal of Mass Spectrometry 47(3) (2012) 338–346.
DOI: 10.1002/jms.2979 (restricted access)

A skin sample from a South-Andean mummy dating back from the XIth century was analyzed using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging using cluster primary ion beams (cluster-TOF-SIMS). For the first time on a mummy, skin dermis and epidermis could be chemically differentiated using mass spectrometry imaging. Differences in amino-acid composition between keratin and collagen, the two major proteins of skin tissue, could indeed be exploited. A surprising lipid composition of hypodermis was also revealed and seems to result from fatty acids damage by bacteria. Using cluster-TOF-SIMS imaging skills, traces of bio-mineralization could be identified at the micrometer scale, especially formation of calcium phosphate at the skin surface. Mineral deposits at the surface were characterized using both scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and mass spectrometry imaging. The stratigraphy of such a sample was revealed for the first time using this technique. More precise molecular maps were also recorded at higher spatial resolution, below 1 µm. This was achieved using a non-bunched mode of the primary ion source, while keeping intact the mass resolution thanks to a delayed extraction of the secondary ions. Details from biological structure as can be seen on SEM images are observable on chemical maps at this sub-micrometer scale. Thus, this work illustrates the interesting possibilities of chemical imaging by cluster-TOF-SIMS concerning ancient biological tissues.


"Application of ATR–FTIR spectroscopy to the analysis of tannins in historic leathers..." by Falcão & Araújo (2014)

Falcão, Lina; Araújo, Maria Eduarda M.;“Application of ATR–FTIR spectroscopy to the analysis of tannins in historic leathers: The case study of the upholstery from the 19th century Portuguese Royal Train”, Vibrational Spectroscopy 74 (2014) 98–103.
DOI:10.1016/j.vibspec.2014.08.001 (restricted access)

Tanning materials of historic leather samples collected from the 19th century Portuguese Royal train were analyzed by attenuated total reflection–Fourier transform infrared (ATR–FTIR) spectroscopy. Studied leathers were visually identified as morocco leathers, one of the most valued types of vegetable tanned leathers. In technical and historic literature, morocco leathers are described as a distinctive type of vegetable tanned leather, with a typical grain surface pattern, made from goat skins and sumac (Rhus coriaria) leaves.
ATR–FTIR spectra of the Royal train leathers were investigated and compared with 10 reference tanning materials obtained from different plants in use in the 19th century, here described. Two different types of vegetable tanned leathers were identified. The obtained spectra allowed to confirm the presence of morocco leathers as well as to detect a different type of vegetable tanned leather, probably applied as a restoration material in a past intervention. This study shows the usefulness of ATR–FTIR to distinguish different types of historic leathers based in the spectroscopic characteristic IR bands of vegetable tannins used for leather production, which can be of great assistance for conservation condition assessments.


“Pieles, zapateros, curtidurías...del Reino de Valencia (ss. XIV-XV)" per Aparici Martí (2012)

Aparici Martí, Joaquín, “Pieles, zapateros, curtidurías. El trabajo del cuero en la zona septentrional del Reino de Valencia (ss. XIV-XV)”, Millars: espai i història 35 (2012) pp. 49–68.
URL / PDF (Raco)

Hemos tratado de reunir en este trabajo las referencias bibliográficas y los datos archivísticos dispersos existentes sobre la producción de cueros de los siglos XIV a XV en una geografía determinada como es el norte del Reino de Valencia, adjuntándose un mapa para una rápida visualización de los resultados obtenidos.


Piel sobre tabla. Encuadernaciones mudéjares en la BNE (2013)

Exposición organizada por la Biblioteca Nacional de España en 2013 (12/03/2013 al 19/05/2013).

El arte mudéjar se desarrolla en los reinos cristianos de la Península Ibérica, iniciado por artesanos musulmanes y judíos en un momento muy especial en la historia del libro – a caballo entre el manuscrito y el impreso - y de la Historia de España – el paso de una sociedad islamizada a una cristiana. Este estilo, que tendrá enormes repercusiones en la arquitectura y las artes decorativas, tiene un excelente campo de creación en el mundo del libro y, muy especialmente, en el arte de la encuadernación.


Why Leather? The Material and Cultural Dimensions of Leather by AA.VV. (2014)

Veldmeijer, A. J.; Harris, S. (eds.), Why Leather? The Material and Cultural Dimensions of Leather, Proceedings of the Archaeological Leather Group conference held in 2011, Leiden, Sidestone Press (2014).



“Les adoberies d’època feudal a la ciutat de Lleida” per Payà (2010)

Payà, Xavier; “Les adoberies d’època feudal a la ciutat de Lleida”, Revista d’arqueologia de Ponent 20 (2010) pp. 27–92.
PDF 1 / PDF 2 / PDF 3 (Raco)

En aquest article intentarem esbrinar l’organització, el funcionament i l’evolució de les adoberies d’època feudal documentades a la ciutat de Lleida. Des de començament del segle xiii formaven un veritable complex de petites indústries dedicades a la transformació de la pell en cuir pertanyents a quatre propietaris, segurament blanquers. Els clots, dipòsits i estructures de producció localitzats en cadascuna de les sis adoberies indica un alt grau tecnològic que finalitzava amb el tintat dels cuirs. Les adoberies es construïren a l’interior de la vila, als peus del vessant sud del turó de la Seu Vella, on hi ha abundants fonts d’aigua fàcils de foradar per obtenir aigua i, darrere del mur de tancament fluvial, des d’on les aigües residuals eren abocades a la sèquia d’Alcarràs o a l’areny del riu Segre i Noguerola. La unitat, la qualitat i les implicacions urbanístiques de la seva construcció apunten vers l’existència d’acords privats, gremials o decrets reials que n’estimularen la implantació. Són un excellent testimoni d’aquella societat de menestrals que féu possible projectes com la construcció de la Seu Vella i convertí Lleida en un dels motors econòmics de la corona durant els segles xiii-xiv. Dues d’aquestes adoberies s’han restaurat i integrat a la planta baixa del número 9 de la ramba Ferran i podran ser visitades properament. 

In this article we will attempt to investigate the organization, operation and evolution of the tanneries from the feudal period documented in the city of Lleida. From the beginning of the 13th century they formed a true group of small industries dedicated to the transformation of leather belonging to four owners, probably tanners. The production pits, deposits and structures located in each of the six tanneries indicate a high technological level that ended with the leather being stained. The tanneries were set up inside the town, at the base of the south slope of the Seu Vella, with abundant sources of water that were easily obtained, and behind the river dam, from where the wastewater was poured into the Alcarràs irrigation ditch or the sandy area of the Segre and Noguerola rivers.The unity, quality and the urbanistic implications of their construction point towards the existence of private agreements, trade agreements or royal decrees that stimulated their implantation. They are an excellent testimony to a society of workmen that made projects like the construction of the Seu Vella possible and they converted Lleida into one of the economic engines of the crown between the 13th to 14th centuries. Two of these tanneries have been restored and have been integrated in the ground floor of number 9, Rambla Ferran and they will be able to be visited soon.


"...The Conservation of Over a Hundred Leather Shoes and Fragments" by Lafrance (2012)

Lafrance, Jessica; "Efficiency and Quality in a Batch Treatment: The Conservation of Over a Hundred Leather Shoes and Fragments", in K. Straetkvern and E. Williams, eds., Proceedings of the 11th ICOM Group on Wet Organic Archaeological Materials Conference: Greenville, 2010. ICOM-CC Working Group on Wet Organic Archaeological Materials (2012) pp. 611–621.

In late 2008 nearly 400 organic objects from the Old Songhees Reserve site in Victoria, British Columbia, arrived at the Canadian Conservation Institute for treatment. Over half of these objects were leather shoes and fragments covered with corrosion and heavily iron stained. The treatment of 112 of these objects is the topic of this paper. Treatment included individual mechanical cleaning of each shoe, followed by mass chloride removal, iron corrosion stain removal, impregnation with polyethelyne glycol, reshaping, freeze drying, and final consolidation and repair. Employing batch treatment methods for many of the conservation steps reduced time and material costs while careful planning, balanced decision making and monitoring meant that the quality of treatment was not reduced.


Experiments in Cuir Bouilli by Levin (2014)

Samuel James Levin, Experiments in Cuir Bouilli: Practical Trials of Medieval Leathercraft,  BA Thesis on Archaeology, Wesleyan University, 2014.

This thesis pursues an experimental investigation of cuir bouilli, a particular form of hardened leather used as armor in medieval Europe. In this exploration, I have produced a sample group of 30 distinct varieties of cuir bouilli. These samples represent the most commonly theorized and scientifically grounded production methods of this historic medium. Using a series of armor specific tests, broadly encapsulating the abuse of arrow fire, blunt force trauma, and slashing, I have measured the performance of each cuir bouilli sample. The data gathered from these tests can be used to infer physical properties about each sample, revealing the essential effects of each hardening method. Moreover, these tests indicate how cuir bouilli might have functioned in actual armor use. They demonstrate strengths and weaknesses of each variety, offering reasons for their eventual abandonment in certain contexts and the roles they might have continued to play in others.


Cordobanes y guadamecies por Ferrandis Torres (1955)

José Ferrandis Torres, Cordobanes y guadamecies: catálogo ilustrado de la exposición, Madrid, Palacio de la Biblioteca y Museos Nacionales (1955).


Curtidores e surradores de S. Sebastião–Guimarães (1865-1923) por Pinto (2012)

Elisabete Pinto, Curtidores e surradores de S. Sebastião–Guimarães (1865-1923): a difícil sobrevivência de uma indústria insalubre no meio urbano. Ed. do autor (2012). 


Arte della legatura a Brera. Storie di libri e biblioteche. Il periodo Barocco (2012)

Arte della legatura a Brera. Storie di libri e biblioteche. Il periodo Barocco. Catalogo della mostra a cura di Federico Macchi, Milano, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense (2012).


“L’activité des tanneries et des mégisseries du Vivarais vers la fin du XVIIIe siècle” par Bertrand (1938)

Bertrand, A.-J.-C.; “L’activité des tanneries et des mégisseries du Vivarais vers la fin du XVIIIe siècle”, Revue de géographie alpine 26(2) (1938) 401–416.
Doi:10.3406/rga.1938.4022 (Persée)


"Identification of collagen-based materials in cultural heritage" by Kirby et al (2013)

Kirby, D. P.; Buckley, M.; Promise, E.; Trauger, S. A.; Holdcraft, T. R.; “Identification of collagen-based materials in cultural heritage”, Analyst 138(17) (2013) 4849–4858.
DOI:10.1039/C3AN00925D (restricted access)

All stakeholders in cultural heritage share an interest in fabrication methods and material technology. Until now methods for analysis of organic materials, particularly proteins, have not been widely available to researchers at cultural institutions. This paper will describe an analytical method for the identification of collagen-based materials from soft tissue sources and show examples of its application to diverse museum objects. The method, peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF), uses enzymatic digestion of extracted proteins to produce a mixture of peptides. The mass spectrum of the mixture contains characteristic marker ions—a peptide mass fingerprint—which are compared to species-specific markers from references as the basis of identification. Preliminary results indicate that analysis of materials from aged samples, several different tissue types, and tanned or untanned materials yields comparable PMF results. Significantly, PMF is simple, rapid, sensitive and specific, has been implemented in a museum laboratory, and is being practiced successfully by non-specialists.


"The secrets in skin: species identification of treated skins through proteomic analysis" by van Doorn & Fiddyment (2014)

Nienke van Doorn & Sarah Fiddyment, "The secrets in skin: species identification of treated skins through proteomic analysis", 117th SLTC Conference 2014, 26th April 2014, University of Northampton, Northampton.
URL (Video and PowerPoint presentation)


“Anthropodermic bibliopegy..." by Nambudiri & Nambudiri (2014)

Nambudiri, N.S., Nambudiri, V.E.; “Anthropodermic bibliopegy: Lessons from a different sort of dermatologic text”, JAMA Dermatology 150(1) (2014) 41–41. 

From the text:
The practice of anthropodermic bibliopegy—the use of human skin for the binding of printed books and manuscripts—dates back several centuries, with examples reported from nations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Individuals whose skin has been used for anthropodermic bindings range from authors and scientists who willingly donated their bodies upon their deaths to criminals and the infirm whose corpses were used for binding of texts on law and medicine.

Also about anthropodermic bibliopegy a very recent post at the Houghton Library Blog:
"The science of anthropodermic binding"


“Material properties of historic parchment..." by Možir et al (2014)

Možir, A.; Cigić, I. K.; Marinšek, M.; Strlič, M.; “Material properties of historic parchment: a reference collection survey”, Studies in Conservation 59(3) (2014) 136–149.

Historic parchment is a complex biological material, and due to various methods of production or inks used, unknown environmental histories of objects and heterogeneous nature of animal skin, it represents a particular analytical challenge. Due to the number of variables it is likely that patterns in degradation of these historic objects can only be revealed by surveying the material properties of a significant number of real objects. In this work, a sacrificial collection of ca. 100 historic parchments (fifteenth to twentieth century) was characterized using a range of techniques available to conservation practitioners that can usefully be used to reliably and rapidly characterize parchment. We focused on micro-destructive methods, such as shrinkage temperature (Ts), as the most widely used indicator of parchment degradation. Lipid content, roughness, and ink pH were additionally measured, while a limited number of samples containing iron gall ink were also examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and SEM-EDX, to explore the distribution of ink components. Even in the absence of detailed environmental histories, it is possible to acknowledge the significance of the effect of iron gall ink and its acidity, and of lipids on parchment degradation, as measured using Ts. This research reports valuable reference data, while the collection remains accessible for further research.


"Use of thermal analysis methods to asses the damage in the bookbindings of some religious books from XVIII century, stored in Romanian libraries" by Budrugeac et al (2014)

Budrugeac, P.; Cucos, A.; Miu, L.;"Use of thermal analysis methods to asses the damage in the bookbindings of some religious books from XVIII century, stored in Romanian libraries", Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry 116(1) (2014) 141–149
Doi:10.1007/s10973-013-3414-7 (restricted access)

The scope of this work was the assessment of thermo-oxidative deterioration, hydrothermal stability, and crystalline zone deterioration of some bookbinding leathers from some religious books published in XVIII century stored in Romanian libraries. In this purpose, the following thermal analysis methods were employed: thermogravimetry/derivative thermogravimetry (TG/DTG), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). The thermo-oxidative damage of investigated leathers was characterized by the rate of the first thermo-oxidation process put in evidence in TG/DTG curves recorded in static air atmosphere. The hydrothermal stability was characterized by shrinkage temperature determined by DSC analysis of leathers in water excess. The damage of the crystalline zone of leathers was determined by DSC in nitrogen flow and DMA analyses. The qualitative damage for each leather and each kind of degradation was evaluated using the criteria resulted by thermal analysis of a large number of collagen-based materials (pure collagens, new and old parchments and leathers). The obtained results could be used for finding the best possible methods for preservation and/or restoration of the investigated bookbinding leathers.

"Assessing the microbiological risk to stored sixteenth century parchment manuscripts..." by Troiano et al (2014)

Troiano, F.; Polo, A.; Villa, F.; Cappitelli, F.; "Assessing the microbiological risk to stored sixteenth century parchment manuscripts: a holistic approach based on molecular and environmental studies", Biofouling 30(3) (2014) 299–311 

The microbial risk for the conservation of seven sixteenth century parchment manuscripts, which showed brown discolouration putatively caused by microorganisms, was evaluated using non-invasive sampling techniques, microscopy, studies of surface-associated and airborne microflora with culture-independent molecular methods, and by measuring repository thermo-hygrometric values. Microscopic observations and ATP assays demonstrated a low level of contamination, indicating that the discolouration was not related to currently active microbial colonisation. Nevertheless, a culture-independent molecular approach was adopted to fully characterise surface-associated communities searching for biodeteriogens that could grow under appropriate thermo-hygrometric conditions. Indeed, potential biodeteriogens and microorganisms that are ecologically related to humans were found, suggesting the need to control the conservation environment and improve handling procedures. Microbial loads of air and thermo-hygrometric measurements showed that the repository was not suitable for preventing the microbial deterioration of parchment. A holistic approach to the assessment of risk of microbial deterioration of documents and heritage preservation is proposed for the first time.


"DMA and DSC studies of accelerated aged parchment and vegetable-tanned leather samples" by Cucos et al (2014)

Cucos, Andrei; Budrugeac, Petru; Miu, Lucreţia; "DMA and DSC studies of accelerated aged parchment and vegetable-tanned leather samples", Thermochimica Acta 583 (2014) 86–93.
DOI:10.1016/j.tca.2014.03.022 (restricted access)

The aim and the novelty of this work was the use of both dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), in water and in dry state, for the investigation of the effects of temperature and relative humidity on degradation of recently manufactured parchments and vegetable-tanned leathers. The materials were subjected to accelerated ageing under action of heat and moisture for progressively increasing time lengths. The studies have proved that accelerated ageing causes a progressive decrease of the temperature of denaturation in water excess, but has no or minor effect on that in dry state. Also, under same ageing conditions parchments undergo a greater degree of deterioration than leathers, as evidenced by a more dramatic change in the DSC peaks (in water) and in the shrinkage curves (DMA). The results can be interpreted as a partial gelatinization occurring in the thermal conditions used for accelerated ageing. The paper presents the advantage of using both techniques, namely that DSC results can assist in interpretation of the DMA curves and that the good correlation of denaturation temperatures obtained by DSC and DMA ascertain these values. Such studies can be useful for understanding the processes that take place on natural ageing of historical parchments and leathers, as well as for establishing proper conditions of their storage.


"Une industrie autrefois florissante: la tannerie de Bayeux" par Fournier (2002)

Fournier, Gérard; "Une industrie autrefois florissante: la tannerie de Bayeux", Annales de Normandie 52(2) (2002) 129-150
DOI: 10.3406/annor.2002.1385 / PDF (Persée)


Identification of Mammalian Sources of Cultural Materials Project

Identification of Mammalian Sources of Cultural Materials Project

About the Project:
The identification of materials from Native American cultural objects to the species level contributes significantly to the documentation of museum collections, academic research, and self-determined, indigenous, and descendent community study.  Recently, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has collaborated with other museums and indigenous groups to study the mammalian materials that are represented in museum collections.  These collaborations have contributed not only to a greater understanding of the objects being studied but also to cultural revitalization efforts.  Currently, the Peabody Museum is engaged in developing a new application of an analytical technique called Peptide Mass Fingerprinting (PMF).  This effort is partially supported by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, a unit of the National Park Service.


"Internal supports for buckskin clothing storage", Conserve O Gram 5/3 (2011)

"Internal supports for buckskin clothing storage", Conserve O Gram 5/3, National Park Service (2011)

Buckskin clothing created and worn by Native Americans is often heavily adorned with beadwork, jingles, furs, quillwork, and other attached elements. Due to the weight of these adornments and the nature of buckskin, buckskin clothing should be stored flat. Folded or hanging storage does not provide adequate support. 
To prevent sharp creasing when buckskin clothing is stored flat, the interior needs adequate support. This Conserve O Gram provides guidance on how to create two kinds of customized internal supports or padded forms for flat storage of buckskin clothing using polyester batting, polyethylene foam and Tyvek sheeting.


"Bioburden assessment and gamma radiation inactivation patterns in parchment documents" by Nunes et al (2013)

Nunes, I.; Mesquita, N.; Cabo Verde, S.; Carolino, M. M.; Portugal, A.; Botelho, M. L.; "Bioburden assessment and gamma radiation inactivation patterns in parchment documents", Radiation Physics and Chemistry 88 (2013) 82–89.

Parchment documents are part of our cultural heritage and, as historical artifacts that they are, should be preserved. The aim of this study was to validate an appropriate methodology to characterize the bioburden of parchment documents, and to assess the growth and gamma radiation inactivation patterns of the microbiota present in that material. Another goal was to estimate the minimum gamma radiation dose (Dmin) to be applied for the decontamination of parchment as an alternative treatment to the current toxic chemical and non-chemical decontamination methods. Two bioburden assessment methodologies were evaluated: the Swab Method (SM) and the Destructive Method (DM). The recovery efficiency of each method was estimated by artificial contamination, using a Cladosporium cladosporioides spore suspension. The parchment samples' microbiota was typified using morphological methods and the fungal isolates were identified by ITS-DNA sequencing. The inactivation pattern was assessed using the DM after exposure to different gamma radiation doses, and using C. cladosporioides as reference. Based on the applied methodology, parchment samples presented bioburden values lower than 5×103CFU/cm2 for total microbiota, and lower than 10 CFU/cm2 for fungal propagules. The results suggest no evident inactivation trend for the natural parchment microbiota, especially regarding the fungal community. A minimum gamma radiation dose (Dmin) of 5 kGy is proposed for the decontamination treatment of parchment. Determining the minimal decontamination dose in parchment is essential for a correct application of gamma radiation as an alternative decontamination treatment for this type of documents avoiding the toxicity and the degradation promoted by the traditional chemical and non-chemical treatments.


Guide manuel théorique et pratique de l’ouvrier ou praticien doreur sur cuir par Bosquet (1903)

Bosquet, Emile; Guide manuel théorique et pratique de l’ouvrier ou praticien doreur sur cuir,  Librairie polytechnique Ch. Béranger, Paris (1903)
URL (InternetArchive)


A history of the New York swamp by Norcross (1901)

Norcross, F. W.; A history of the New York swamp, Chiswick Press, New York (1901)
URL (InternetArchive)

 From the introduction:
"In the district known as the New York Swamp I met their fathers almost daily for many years. They were Kings in the Tanning Trade. There were the stalwart and manly Hoyt's; the aristocratic Thorncs; the cultured Healys; the broad minded Schultz; the gentlemanly Lees; the Hortons; merchants and manufacturers; the Laphams, "Friends" in faith and works; the moneyed Fayerweathers; the genial Palens; the cautious Bulkleys; the steadfast and solid Ladews; the successful Reeses; the honorable Ishams, and many more who formed a galaxy of merchants such as may never again be seen in the Hide and Leather business.
These men dominated the trade for nigh a hundred years. Their example is worthy of emulation. It is with the design of preserving a record of their deeds that these papers were written by their, and your, servant for half a century,


"Tannins characterization in historic leathers..." by Falcão & Araújo (2013)

Falcão, Lina; Araújo, Maria Eduarda M.; "Tannins characterization in historic leathers by complementary analytical techniques ATR-FTIR, UV-Vis and chemical tests", Journal of Cultural Heritage 14(6) (2013) 499–508

This paper presents a complementary analytical approach to characterize vegetable tanning materials in historic leathers. It is described the application of two molecular spectroscopic techniques, ATR-FTIR and UV-Vis, and three specific chemical tests to analyse tannins present in leathers. Acid butanol, nitrous acid and rhodanine colorimetric tests, evaluated both visually and spectrophotometrically, were used to identify condensed tannins, ellagitannins and gallotannins, respectively. Ten samples of commercial, or laboratory prepared, vegetable tannins and seven new vegetable tanned leathers were also analysed and obtained results were used for comparison. The complete analytical procedure was performed, in a semi-micro-destructive scale, using fibres collected from leather. Analysis of ATR-FTIR and UV spectra of commercial and laboratory prepared vegetable tannins allowed the establishment of the characteristic bands of condensed and hydrolysable tannins and, more specifically, gallotannins. These data were used to confirm the type of vegetable tanning agents used in new leather extracts. The same approach was used in cultural heritage leathers, supported by the colorimetric tests, since protein degradation products were co-extracted in aged leathers and interfered in IR spectra.