MA Dissertation: A short history of 18-19th century British hand-coloured prints; with a focus on gamboge, chrome yellow and quercitron; their sensitivities and their impact on aqueous conservation treatment


Not much research has been done in the field of British hand-coloured prints in the 18th and 19th centuries. This paper provides a brief overview of the history and production of hand-coloured prints, the people involved, and the common materials used. Three sensitive yellow pigments gamboge, quercitron and chrome yellow, which were commonly used in hand-colouring are also discussed in detail, covering their history, physical and chemical properties, as well as methods of identification. These pigments were selected due to the common usage of yellow pigments in many hand-coloured prints, used both alone and as a mixture to achieve numerous shades of green and orange. Yellow pigments are also known to be very fugitive pigments, with these three pigments being some of the most sensitive. The details of their sensitivities are then used to provide possible aqueous treatment options for the conservation of hand-coloured prints, with focus on the removal of discolouration and soluble degradation products. Possible treatment options include double-screen washing, blotter washing, low-pressure table washing, partial immersion, and the use of rigid Gellan gels. Local and targeted treatment options as well as additional treatment steps like fixing and the use of templates are also discussed.

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