This post comes from Colette Peavy and Pascual Ruiz Segura, Rakow Research Library interns working on the conservation of the Whitefriars stained glass cartoon collection over the summer of 2017, in conjunction with West Lake Conservators. Read more about this project and the collection in previous posts.
In our last blog post, we talked briefly about finding objects related to Liverpool Cathedral. We hoped to open some rolls that the Library had in its collection. Since our last post, we’ve had time to open three rolls from Liverpool. We’re working on conserving one of these rolls containing 52 works from the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.
The Liverpool Cathedral took a total of 74 years to build. The foundation stone was laid in 1904, and the Lady Chapel was completed in 1910. The roll we are working on contains designs from several windows located on the west end of the chapel. These windows are known as the “Noble Women” windows. The style of these windows differs from the rest of the chapel; they depict 21 women of note and honor their contributions to society. The women include locally and internationally-known women such as Kitty Wilkinson, Agnes Jones, Grace Darling, Elizabeth Fry and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Floor plan of the Liverpool Cathedral, Atrium and Staircase Windows highlighted in red. Cotton, Vere E. The Liverpool Cathedral Official Handbook. Littlebury Bros. 1924.
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This post was written by Moya Dumville, paper conservator at West Lake Conservators.
One of the most difficult aspects of working as a conservator is striking a balance between seeing an object and saving an object. Art, obviously, needs to be put on display so that it can be enjoyed and appreciated, but merely putting it on display can put it at risk. Exposure to light, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, handling, mounting and exhibition are all things that can damage works of art. It’s the work of conservators, together with curators, archivists and librarians, to ensure that these risks are mitigated as much as possible.
A good example of the balance between ‘seeing vs. saving’ is lighting. For example, art must be displayed in light bright enough to be visible, but not so bright as to damage it. Light can be a significant source of risk for art, particularly if the medium is paper. Media can fade, and paper yellow, darken, and/or become brittle. Works of art must also be displayed in a way that won’t cause physical damage — care should be taken to ensure that objects are displayed in archival window mats, and that books are only opened to an angle that will not cause damage to the bindings. Book cradles are constructed specifically for this job — to hold books open at an angle that will allow selected pages to be visible, while supporting the covers, text block, and binding. Most paper objects are not recommended for display for more than three months at a time, and should be exhibited in low light levels and stable, moderate temperature and humidity. After being displayed for three months, it is recommended that these objects be ‘rested’ for a period of 10 years, in order to preserve their life span. Read more →
The Make Your Own Glass Studio
Introducing a new exhibition is always an exciting experience. There seems to be a general buzz within all departments of the museum in the weeks surrounding an opening. It is particularly exciting working in the Make Your Own Glass department. Make Your Own Glass (MYOG) is a workshop located inside of The Studio where museum visitors can purchase tickets for a 40-minute glassmaking experience. Experiences range from flameworking to fusing to glassblowing with options available for all ages. When a new exhibition is being installed we are presented with the opportunity to create a corresponding project. Read more →
Glass is used to make all sorts of things, some more expected than others. Eyeglasses, drinking vessels, windows, light bulbs … currency, musical instruments, dresses, automobiles. There are all sorts of oddities to be found in the Museum and Library‘s collections — the following examples are no exception!
A contemporary version of a glass umbrella, made
by Robert Mickelsen (via)
“This is the age of glass. Glass-covered tables are all the vogue, and glass houses are being built with glass bricks, but the very latest is the glass umbrella, which is covered with ‘silk’ spun from glass, says ‘T.A.T.’ These umbrellas, of course, will afford no protection from the rays of the sun, but they possess one obvious advantage, namely, that they can be held in front of the face when meeting the wind and rain, and at the same time the user will be able to see that he does not run into unoffending individuals or lamp posts.”
From: “Glass Umbrellas,” China, Glass & Lamps, November 18, 1905. Read more →