Talk:BPG Parchment

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This discussion page was started in July 2014 to collect ideas for improving this chapter. It includes the suggestions offered by the BPG Publications Committee, PCC Task Force in 2007-2009. Please feel free to add your own suggestions for improvement. Please sign your comments.

PCC Task Force in 2007-2009 Revision Priority: Low. It is already quite comprehensive.

Suggestions for improvement[edit source]

  • Link to and clarify the purposes of Parchment in the Book Conservation Wiki.--Kkelly (talk) 15:46, 28 April 2017 (CDT)
  • remove long list of data on Charters of Freedom, refer users back to 1994 pdf version.--Kkelly (talk) 15:46, 28 April 2017 (CDT)
  • There are some good resources here for "out of date treatments"--Kkelly (talk) 15:46, 28 April 2017 (CDT)
  • A challenge in updating this chapter will be addressing the many out-of-date statements about what is "currently available" or "currently done" at various institutions.--Kkelly (talk) 15:46, 28 April 2017 (CDT)
  • When thymol is mentioned (even for historical treatments) include a link to more recent discussion of its health hazards. --Kkelly (talk) 10:24, 19 September 2017 (CDT)
  • This twitter post shows the use of a clips attached with Velcro to a frame used to reshape a vellum map.--Kkelly (talk) 10:00, 10 October 2017 (CDT)
  • It might be interesting and useful to have a section on treatment of fire damaged parchment. --Kkelly (talk) 10:14, 10 October 2017 (CDT)Some citations:
See annotation below.
  • de Guevara, Mariluz Beltran and Paul Garside. 2013. "The Conservation of the Burnt Cotton Collection." Journal Of The Institute Of Conservation 36 (2). DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2013.815122. Accessed May 5, 2017.
see annotation below.
  • Facchini, Alessandro, Carlo Malara, Giovanni Bazzani, and Pietro Luigi Cavallottiz. 2000. "Ancient Parchment Examination by Surface Investigation Methods." Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 231. DOI: 10.1006/jcis.2000.7138.
see annotation below.
  • Quant, Abigail. 1996. "Recent Developments in the Conservation of Parchment Manuscripts." The Book and Paper Group Annual 15.
see annotation below.

Annotated Citations to Add to Bibliography[edit source]

--Kkelly (talk) 15:43, 2 November 2017 (CDT)--Kkelly (talk) 14:06, 20 April 2017 (CDT)

Journal of the Institute of Conservation 35 (2). The issue is a special edition focusing on the conservation of parchment and vellum.

Aceto, Maurizio, Angelo Agostino, Gaia Fenoglio, Ambra Idone, Fabrizio Crivello, Martina Griesser, Franz Kirchweger, Katharina Uhlir, and Patricia Roger Puyo. 2016. "Analytical Investigations on the Coronation Gospels Manuscript." Spectrochimica Acta Part A Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 171. DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2016.07.050. Accessed Apr 19, 2017.

Technical examination of an 8th C. purple parchment codex through X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF), UV-visible diffuse reflectance spectrophotometry with optical fibres (FORS), spectrofluorimetry, optical microscopy and multispectral analysis. The primary aim was the identification of the purple colorant, which in this case was found to be orchil, and for some of the folios, indigo.

Cains, Anthony. 1992. "The Vellum of the Book of Kells." The Paper Conservator 16. 50–61.

Detailed description of the calfskin vellum used for the Book of Kells (c. 800 AD). General introduction to early methods of parchment production. Appendix discusses animal identification, with photographs.

Carsote, Cristina 2014. "Characterization of a Byzantine Manuscript by Infrared Spectroscopy and Thermal Analysis." Revue Roumaine de Chimie 59(6-7).

Technical examination of the parchment of a 9th or 10th C. manuscript, made into a palimpsest in the 13th C. The researchers used optical microscopy, infrared spectroscoy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and Micro Hot Table (MHT) method . The parchment was described as being, "stiff, pleated, of dark yellow or brown colour and with glassy appearance." Microscopic examination of the follicles revealed the parchment to be goatskin, with some areas of gelatinization as evidenced by their glassy appearance. FTIR revealed the extent of collagen degradation from hydrolysis and gelatinization, DSC and the MHT measured shrinkage temperature. A distinction is made between the hydrolysis and gelatinization observed at the surface and the stability of the deeper layers of the parchment. The authors speculate that this reveals that the manuscript is at great risk of delamination and separation of layers under variable environmental conditions. The ink is not described or assessed.

Clarkson, Christopher. 1992. "Rediscovering Parchment: The Nature of the Beast." The Paper Conservator 16. 5–26. DOI:10.1080/03094227.1992.9638571.

Excellent introduction to parchment used in manuscripts, with illustrations showing skin variations, flaws, methods of repairing skins before writing upon, and bad treatment outcomes. Discusses the dangers of treatments that do not take account of parchment's hygroscopic nature.

de Guevara, Mariluz Beltran and Paul Garside. 2013. "The Conservation of the Burnt Cotton Collection." Journal Of The Institute Of Conservation 36 (2). DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2013.815122. Accessed May 5, 2017.

Describes a project at the British Library to preserve a collection of fire-damaged, bound parchment manuscripts from the 4th - 17th C.

Dernovskova, J., H. Jirasova, and J. Zelinger. 1995. "An Investigation of the Hygroscopicity of Parchment Subjected to Different Treatments." Restaurator 16. DOI: 10.1515/rest.1995.16.1.31

After comparing the general hygroscopicity and hygroscopicity following treatment of modern vs. historical materials, this article suggests that "It would be advisable to restrict the substitution of the historical material with modern parchment, both in the restoration work and in experimental measurements."

Facchini, Alessandro, Carlo Malara, Giovanni Bazzani, and Pietro Luigi Cavallottiz. 2000. "Ancient Parchment Examination by Surface Investigation Methods." Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 231. DOI: 10.1006/jcis.2000.7138.

Before and after treatment analysis of a parchment manuscript damaged in a 1904 fire. The parchment was shrunken and the pages "bound by the adhesive substance coming from the collagen damage." The treatment consisted of humidification with water and alcohol vapor to soften the parchment and the adhesive, page separation, and stretch drying. The drying was sometimes preceded by immersion in "a hydroalcoholic solution of urea (2 wt%) and sodium chloride (2 wt%)" followed by a "50/50 wt% ethyl alcohol/water solution to improve the parchment elasticity." This article examines the parchment (as well as mock-ups) to evaluate the treatment results based on measuring surface characteristics like pore size distribution, water adsorption, SEM images, and microindentation. This article suggest that these are valid measurements for evaluating parchment treatments. There is not a clear distinction between samples that were humidified and stretched vs. samples that also received the urea, sodium chloride, and ethanol-water bath.

FitzGerald, Solange. 2017. "A less invasive treatment solution for a bound seventeenth century parchment volume." Journal of the Institute of Conservation (volume?). DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2017.1365742. Link to subscription journal.

Describes in situ flattening of a severely misshapen bound parchment volume through the humidification and flattening using neodymium magnets . Briefly described in a National Archives blog post.

Gonzalez, Lee G, Jennifer Hiller, Nick J. Terrill, Joanna Parkinson, Kate Thomas, and Tim J. Wess. 2012. "Effects of isopropanol on collagen fibrils in new parchment." Chemistry Central Journal 6:24. DOI: 10.1186/1752-153X-6-24.

This study recommends against the use of isopropanol/water mixtures to locally humidify and flatten parchment due to permanent dehydration that results in detrimental changes to the collagen packing.

Jordan, Tammy. 2011, "Using Magnets as a Conservation Tool: A New Look at Tension Drying Damaged Vellum Documents .Book and Paper Group Annual 30.

Larsen, R. 2002. in Improved Damage Assessment of Parchment, Care and Conservation of Manuscripts 7, ed. G. Fellows-Jensen and P. Springborg (The Royal Library, Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen.

Improved Damage Assessment of Parchment.

Larsen, René, ed. 2002. Microanalysis of Parchment. Archetype Publications.

"Presents sampling techniques and non-destructive, microanalytical and semi-microanalytical methods for the analysis and testing of historic parchment based on visual, microscopical as well as chemical and physical techniques. The contributions in this volume represent the main achievements of the European joint project on parchment "Methods in the Microanalysis of Parchment'." (from the publisher)
Martina Ohlídalová in her review of this book in Studies in Conservation notes that the most interesting part of this book is the final paper, "The Use of Complementary and Comparative Analysis in Damage Assessment of Parchments", where the authors summarize the preceding studies and discuss how to determine and describe the state of degradation of parchment.

Lelièvre, Cédric. 2016. "Conservation treatment of an illuminated parchment manuscript: compromise and economical solutions." In Care and Conservation of Manuscripts 15, edited by M. J. Driscoll. Museum Tusculanum Press.

In situ flattening of persistent, nested vertical creases in an oversize, illuminated, bound parchment manuscript from 1480. A cradle was build to tension three humidified leaves at a time while maintaining pressure on the already flattened leaves below. Rare earth magnets were used to control the tension. The illuminations were also examined and consolidated as necessary with isinglass. The damaging concave boards were left in place, but compensated for with rounded loose board inserts.

Moorhead, Gavin. May 2009. "Parchment Assessment of the Codex Sinaiticus." Codex Sinaiticus Website. Accessed July 27, 2017.

A detailed assessment of the parchment used in the 4th C Codex Sinaiticus.

Popescua, Carmen-Mihaela, et. al. 2016. "Variation in the sorption properties of historic parchment evaluated by dynamic water vapour sorption." Journal of Cultural Heritage 17. DOI: 10.1016/j.culher.2015.06.001

A good introduction to the chemical make-up of parchment, the factors that affect its deterioration, and the molecular dynamics that affect water adsorbtion and absorbtion. The author finds differences in water adsorption properties between historic (18th and early 19th C) and modern parchment.

Quant, Abigail. 1996. "Recent Developments in the Conservation of Parchment Manuscripts." The Book and Paper Group Annual 15.

This article talks about successful treatment of a heat damaged parchment manuscript and the successful reversal of stiff and horny areas.

Reid, Zoë and Benjamin van de Wetering. 2012. "Conservation of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Chancery pleadings at the National Archives of Ireland." Journal of the Institute of Conservation 35(2). DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2012.722779. Link to subscription journal.

Discusses a large-scale project to conserve 5265 fire-damage parchments. The treatment methods are well-described and broadly applicable. They include dry cleaning with soot sponges; damp-pack humidification; reshaping with pressure, tension, or suction; and repair with intestine leather, goldbeater’s skin, or goatskin, applied with warm gelatin. Introduces the use of a "stretching aid": two metal discs pressed together with a bolt and butterfly nut to hold together a loss or tear during reshaping.

Vnouček, Jiří. 2005. "The Manufacture of Parchment for Writing Purposes and the Observation of the Signs of Manufacture Surviving in Old Manuscripts." In Care and Conservation of Manuscripts 8. Proceedings of the eighth international seminar held at the University of Copenhagen 16th - 17th October 2003. 74-92.

This article builds on Clarkson's 1992 article and further relates manuscript parchment production methods to the physical qualities of that parchment, with particular attention given to stitched holes and mending techniques. This article grew out of survey work as part of the IDAP project.

Woods, Christopher. 2006. "The Conservation of Parchment." in Conservation of Leather and Related Materials, ed. Marion Kite and Roy Thomson. Oxford: Butterwoth-Heinemann. 200-224.

Details the uses of parchment for binding and as a manuscript substrate. Covers flesh and hair split skins, the risks of mold, Particular attention is paid to parchment documents with pendant seals. The author notes the trend towards less invasive treatments since the 1980s, and gives an overview of current and out-of-date treatment techniques.

Wouters, Jan, Gely Gancedo, An Peckstadt and Lieve Watteeuw. 1992. "The Conservation of Codex Eyckensis: The Evolution of the Project and the Assessment of Materials and Adhesives for the Repair of Parchment." The Paper Conservator 16. 67–77.

The Codex Eyckensis is an 8th C illuminated manuscript which was heat sealed in 1957 with a synthetic PVC foil ("Mipofolie"). Images of that foil are available on the Codex Eyckensis Blog. This article reports on analysis of bacterial and fungal contamination and research into repair materials (goldbeater's skin and repair calfskin parchment) and adhesives (starch paste, Tylose MH300 [methyl hydroxyethyl cellulose], Klucel G, parchment glue, gelatine, PVAc, Plextol D360, and Paraloid B72). States that "parchment repair is almost exclusively performed with thinned and shaped pieces of new parchment." Briefly discusses parchment pulp, though this article predates the actual treatment done with parchment pulp (treatment discussed by Quant 1996). The treatment and analysis of Codex Eyckensis was the topic of a presentation at the 2017 AIC Annual Meeting.

a bibliography, site is worth exploring more

---. 2015. "Parchment flattening using neodymium magnets." Video and blog post from PZ Conservation. May 9, 2015. DEAD LINK 11/21/2017

An interesting time lapse video showing flattening of a folded parchment document with a pendant seal.

Removed inaccurate content about the treatment of Qur'ans[edit source]

I just removed the sentence "In Islam, Qur'ans have been written on parchment, and some Muslims feel that a Qur'an used for prayer should only be treated by a male Muslim" from the Treatment of Religious Texts section after Aisha Wahab pointed out that this was inaccurate (and uncited) during the BPG Wiki Discussion Session on 8/4/2020. -Msmith (talk) 16:32, 4 August 2020 (CDT)