Restoring J.B. Max

Removing cardboard from paper.

I love to collect historical etches and gravures made near or in Arnhem, the town where I live. Yesterday, I received a wonderful small etching by an artist I have not yet deciphered. On it, a representation of “the Sabelspoort”, a medieval gate in the old historical city wall in Arnhem. The city wall was used to protect against all kinds of invasions and plunderers and had next to its many gates, four defensive towers, the Janspoort, the Velperpoort, the Rijnpoort and the Sabelspoort. Unfortunately the Sabelspoort is the only one of the gates that is still standing today. The other gates where long gone before the second world war and strangely enough the tower survived, standing fiercely while everything around it was shot to bits in the heavy fighting that took place during the war. Nowadays, the Sabelspoort is an official Dutch monument and has significant meaning and worth for Dutch architecture and Dutch history.  So a nice asset to my modest collection!

J.B Max, ArnhemThe paper had some foxing and yellowing going on and when I removed the etch from the frame I noticed a sticker from the art dealer that framed this work, about 116 years ago. Notice the cool four digit phone number or “telephoon” as they would say back then. The framer and art dealer was J.B. Max who resided at 83, Steenstraat in Arnhem, about 1 mile away from where I live. 

On a closer inspection I noticed that the etch was glued to a cardboard panel. This is always a big setback and when framed, you never know what to expect until the frame comes of. So in this case, a lot of unwanted cardboard and heaps of work! Its a Buddhist exercise gone crazy to maintain the concentration and determination needed to peal off the cardboard layer by layer. However there is really no choice, the cardboard has to come off to be able to stop further yellowing and foxing of the antique paper. The board is acidic and will propagate the Oh no, the Sabelspoort is glued on cardboardexisting problems in the paper.

I suppose it is a dirty job but someone has to do it! Before peeling, I first tested a few centimeters in the corners. For this job I used a Swann Norton surgical blade and tweezers. It turned out that the peeling was going amazingly well. the cardboard was very rich in wood fiber and therefore flaking easily, which made it easy to peel of the layers. The glue the framer used was probably something natural and starch based. There seemed to be no need for the use of solvents and liquids at this point, so I went for this plan:

  1. Removing the acidic backing board form the artwork with a Swann Norton surgical knife
  2. Sanding and scraping the paper to leave a smooth surface.
  3. Dry cleaning with rubbing gum on the front side of the etching
  4. Wet cleaning, removing acid with distilled water with added calcium hydroxide.
  5. Drying and pressing
  6. Mounting the etch on a piece of Kozo paper and with that creating a new and smooth backing.

It was time to begin peeling, chip by chip! The top layer of the etch paper was merged with the board and the glue that was used and came of spontaneously while removing the cardboard. Thespeeling awaye few millimeters were so rigid that they came off with the scalpel knife without too much effort, leaving a relatively clean surface without too much cardboard leftover residue. Because the job was tough on the paper thin blades, I used to two of them in the whole scraping and cutting process. One of them just broke in two pieces all together.

Next to blades, it cost me one big cut in my thumb because the Swann Nortons where pretty blunt at some point. And after about four hours of peeling away in intense concentration, the finish line came into sight while I was still attached to my fingers and the medieval Sabelspoort still had its towers.  

When the peeling was done, I started removing all little specs of cardboard with a scraper. After thisrough edges I was left with a very rough edged paper that didn’t look too good. 

The front was left unaltered by the scraping and peeling work. I trimmed of the loose bits with scissors and started lightly sanding the paper.the work after the sanding process

After the sanding, the paper surface was much more smooth and it was time to finish up and get ready for the next steps Bestand_008 (3)of this cleaning up which I will post as soon as possible.

The end result looked pretty good. No changes where made to the visible side of the etching and the back can be used as is or can be mounted to a piece of Kozo paper which is acid free mulberry paper, almost invisible to the naked eye.

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G.Henderson & old Bailey

Henderson old Bailey

Plate nr. 33

The animal kingdom Henderson old BaileyA colorful antique engraving featuring 3 tropical fish from the book: “The Animal Kingdom, arranged according to its organization, serving as a foundation for the natural history of animals: and an introduction to comparative anatomy”, with the plate number, (33) , title and publisher, ( G. Henderson 2 old Bailey London).
This hand colored engraving is dated 1836. The measurements of the paper are: 22.5 x 13 cm. The engraving is framed and has a cream colored matte. The measurements of the frame are 26 x 19,5 cms.
Except for some yellowing and spots here and there, the overall condition of this 178 year old engraving is good. In the back you can see how, in time, one of the colors bleached through the paper where the red paint for the fins was used. I have removed the scotch tape that was used on the back and it has been dry cleaned for preservation purposes.

Price: 39,95 euro (exclusive additional shipping costs) 

Click on the images for a larger view of the artwork.

If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.

Cleaning of old paper

Cleaning of paper

Paper art Hygiene, dry cleaning

Dry cleaning is the dry removal of dirt and micro-organisms from the artwork with the help of dry sponges, brushes and granulated rubbing gum. Bigger particles, like insect specks and rust spots, can be scraped away with a sharp tool.Noord Hollandse chais 2 At my workshop I use dry cleaning in two ways: with a clean brush and granulated gum, going over the entire artwork in a circular motion and the other way is by scraping away superficial spots with a knife and then vacuuming the residue so it gets removed right away. A large part of the dust and micro-organism particles are removed this way, leaving a cleaner and more freshly looking artwork. 

In the process of conserving and restoring art, dry cleaning is an important step because over time, the dirt and dust particles will get embedded deeper into the fiber of the paper, where these particles merge with the paper over time, causing staining, yellowing and browning and creating a fertile breading ground for  microorganisms. In time, the paper will become brittle and eventually dissolve all togDirt behind the backing board.ether because of these microorganisms. The traces of the fungi’ s waste product can actually be seen under a microscope in the form of strings running through the paper. Next to the cleaning of the paper, the frame and  glass must be cleaned thoroughly, preferable killing all the microorganisms so nothing gets transferred back to the sanitized paper. Dry cleaning is also an important step before aqueous cleaning of the work. Most of the bigger dirt particles are removed before the paper is submerged in a bath. We don’t want spores and dirt being released in the bath where they can contaminate the whole paper!

If possible, use a new piece of glass. If you want to reuse the old one make sure all the microorganisms are killed. I would recommend using bleach to kill microorganisms, preferably wearing gloves to make sure no fingerprints are transferred  onto the paper. The frame should also be cleaned with light soap and water. After the paper is dry cleaned it can be framed again. If necessary the artwork can be soaked in liquid to remove acidic build up.

Aqueous cleaning

Aqueous cleaning, acidic buildup is leaving the artwork.

This is used when the paper is in good overall shape but suffers from foxing or extreme yellowing. Acidic buildup in the paper caused by pollution,  (people used to smoke a lot) or backing on acidic cardboard and acidic matting. Also acid in the used inks and in the artworks own paper can cause foxing and yellowing. Sometimes, tape used to matte the artwork also causes ugly yellow stripes where the glue is merged with the paper. This glue residue feels slippery when the artwork is wet. If possible, remove this sticky layer, rubbing gently, when the paper is in the bath. 

To preserve the artwork, aqueous cleaning can improve the artwork and preserve it for future generations. Acidic buildup will rinse out of the paper where it will soak for some time in distilled water with added calcium-hydroxide. A test on the inks is done to make sure it can handle liquid cleaning. Usually different colors and inks will react differently when coming in touch with water so these are tested with a q-tip and water + water and ethanol before taking the plunge. When its clear the colors won’t start to run, the artwork is placed on a piece of spun polyester, where I usually spray the artwork with a ethanol/water solution. This is to protect the fibers of the paper. The water/ethanol solution penetrates the fibers much faster then ordinary water or distilled water, so the shock as is lessened. The shrinking and expanding of the fibers goes much faster causing less damage. Wetting old and antique paper is always demanding on the paper.  However, if you want to preserve the art piece as best as you can, its often wise to do so. Most of the time the process of foxing comes to a halt.

 

Cornelis Rol

johulsteinsfineprints.wordpress.com -Antique art prints for sale-

Cornelis Rol 

Cacti

johulsteinsfineprints.wordpress.com  -Antique art prints for sale-
Cacti, Cornelis Rol ca. 1930, woodcut, woodblock

“Cacti”  is a very nice and typical Dutch, no nonsense woodcut print by Cornelis Rol. This robust 85 year old artwork measures 26 cm x 20,5 cms and was produced around 1930-1935. The print is in good condition and has been cleaned. In the Right corner is the monogram “R-” (Hendricus Rol) found. This nice woodcut will be shipped  unmounted on a 30 x 40 cms acid-free backboard and an paper cover for storing or framing as you see fit.

Price: 50 euro (exclusive of additional shipping costs) 

Click on the images for a larger view of the artwork.

If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.

Cornelis Rol and son

For sale :Cornelis Rol

Cactussen, Cacti

Cornelis en Hendricus Rol, Cactussen“Cactussen” or Cacti,  is a typical Dutch, raw , no nonsense woodcut print by Cornelis Rol and his son Hendricus (Cor en Henk) This robust 85 year old artwork measures 28 cm x 20,5 cms and was produced around 1930-1935. The print has some light foxing and yellowing and has been cleaned. On the left margin the print has a little reinforced area (with kozo paper) that is almost invisible outside the margins of this wonderful woodcut.

This artwork will be shipped unmounted on a acid-free 30×40 cms backboard so you can frame or store it as you see fit.

Price: 50 euro (exclusive of additional shipping costs) 

Click on the images for a larger view of the artwork.

If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.

Leopold Lesigne

 Leopold Lesigne

Shepherd and flock

Lesigne Mauve engraving 1897“The shepherd and flock” by master engraving artist Leopold Lesigne is a beautiful etch after work of A. Mauve. This artwork was published and executed by P. Moglia and  Ch.Poccard in 1897.  Centered at the bottom is printed: Leopold Lesigne sc. 1897. In the right corner in the etch, is printed A. Mauve. In the right top of the artwork it says Ch. Poccard editeur Paris and on the left is printed Imp. Paul Moglia Paris. (Paul Moglia was a publisher and printer who lived in France from 1863 until 1901). He was also known under the name Moglia & Cie. The etching measures 16 by 21 cm. It has been cleaned and is in good shape. There is some foxing and yellowing outside the margins of the etching as shown on the pictures. It will be shipped unmounted on acid free archival board and with an acid free matte so you can store or frame the artwork as you see fit.

Price: 100 euro (exclusive additional shipping costs) 

Click on the images for a larger view of the artwork.

If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.

After a photograph

Girl by a wall

Girl by a wall, 1885A lovely wood engraving with the help of the photo mechanical proces (photoxylography) of an ever so cute little girl leaning against a wall. This print is in a very good condition and dated 1885. The measurements are 10 x 15 cms. The gravure is covered with a antique pink paper sheet and framed in a 34 x 40 cms, cherry wood color, wooden frame. In the bottom there are the words, one, two, three, ….delivre, after a photography (in Dutch). At the left bottom in the engraving is an autograph of the printer and publisher, (… & adler?) .

Price: 37 euro (exclusive additional shipping costs) 

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If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.

Albert Aublet

Albert Aublet

Sur Le Sable

Albert Aublet, sur le sable woodengraving 1892“Sur Le Sable” is a beautiful wood engraving after work of A. Aublet.  This is how this work probably was commissioned and published in a showcase art magazine around 1892. On the left bottom is the printed autograph of A. Aublet, 1892 and under the matte is printed in typograph  “Sur le Sable” A. Aublet. The colors are exceptionally vibrant and lively. I suspect that some of the hand-painted areas are coated with Gum Arabicum to produce a waxy shine to some areas. this print is printed verso. The measurements are ca. 15.5 x 10,5 cms. This artwork is framed and can also be sold without the frame. The paper has been cleaned both dry and wet and some weak spots have been (invisibly) reinforced with Japanese Kozo paper on the back. Good for years to come!

Price: 50 euro (exclusive additional shipping costs) 

Click on the images for a larger view of the artwork.

If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.

——-> SOLD, Jan Veringa

Jan Veringa

Cyclamen

Jan Veringa“Cyclamen” (I think cyclamen Hederifolium)  is a beautiful original Art Deco/Arts and Craft woodcut by Jan Veringa. The artwork is printed on mulberry paper and framed with a grey limestone colored matte and a wooden black frame.  The artwork is signed J.Veringa in pencil in the left bottom and has never been opened. The frame is 45 x 28.5 cm and the woodblock print itself measures 31 x 16 cm. Estimated around 1930. This artwork is shipped as is (in the frame). On the backside there is a art deco sticker of the shop that sold this work.

Price: 75 euro, (exclusive additional shipping costs) 

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Click here if you want read more about Jan Veringa 

If you are interested in purchasing this work or if you have additional questions, please use the form below.