Photography. Natural History and Ethnography Exhibition

Department of Documentation

Antes y después de la intervención

During 2016, at the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute, we restored 32 albumen print photographs originally taken on the occasion of the Natural History and Ethnography Exhibition held at the National Archaeological Museum in 1893.

Author: Servando Corrales
Support medium: photographic paper
Technique: albumen paper
Dimensions: Photographs 22.2 x 15.5 cm
Card support 49.7 x 32.5 cm

State of conservation:

The photographic prints were glued to a secondary card support and gilt framed. At the top and bottom there were identifying inscriptions (title of the exhibition, photographer’s name, year and title of the photograph) and a stamp on the lower right corner of the support.
The most noticeable damage was the surface dirt, although some photographs were also peeling off the card support or were creased. There were also some losses at the edges. The card supports presented losses and warping caused by the adhesive used to glue down the photographs.

Restoration process:

First, as in any restoration work, photographs were taken to document the state of conservation. Next, a soft brush was used to clean off surface dust. A polyvinyl eraser was also used. The photograph edges which had come loose were stuck to the support with methyl cellulose. The lost areas of the support were replaced and the new inserts were coloured to match the existing card with colour pencils.

Storage recommendations:

To ensure their conservation, the photographs were placed in archival quality cardboard boxes. The recommended storage environment should have relative humidity levels of 40 - 60% and a temperature of 18 - 21ºC., kept as stable as possible. When displayed, the light level should be 50 - 100 lux.