Today I was back at the V&A for the first time in the New Year – it’s always nice to return after a break and find familiar faces, so it was a happy return!
The day was also boosted by seeing On Eagle’s Wings exhibition at the museum. This is an exhibition on comic books that myself and a collegue have been working on for the last month or so, each of us doing paper repairs on the covers and display spreads of the comics. Having been involved since the start of the conservation work, it was really nice to see the exhibition come to fruition.
Due to copyright issues, I was not able to get any close-ups of the comics themselves, but in the images below you can see the general layout. It is located outside the Twentieth Century gallery and takes up four of the cabinets there. One of the cabinets is specifically dedicated to the girls comics, which I worked a lot on. Girl is the counterpart to Eagle, which is the key comic book for the exhibitions. The latter was an extremely popular boys comic whereas Girl was one of the leading girl’s comic books, including such items as Wendy & Jinx (a detective duo) and how to do flower arrangements.
I was pleased to see that of those comics that I had worked on, I was not able to see the paper repairs, which is a good sign!
As you may know, my Mondays at the moment are spent at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington, working on a variety of conservation projects and helping where possible.
Today this meant continuing conservation work on a selection of comics for a forthcoming exhibition in 2012, though unfortunately it’s not currently listed on their What’s On list. I had started work on these comics a couple of weeks back, but this week saw a more progressive leap forward and will hopefully a move onto the displays next week.
The collection I was working on today were all girls comics from the mid 20th Century, including ones like Mandy, Lady P, Princess Tina and my personal favourite – Girl, the female version of Eagle, which includes items such as how to arrange dried flowers!
The repairs we are doing are paper repairs to the covers and any spreads that might be shown in the exhibitions. Due to the quality of the paper, there are often several tears around the edges of the sheets, and a substantial amount of damage to the spines. Today I also came across a couple of rusty staples that had to be removed, de-rusted and returned to the comics. I have some pictures below:
I’m quite looking forward to seeing the exhibition and the fruits of my labour!!
Mondays at the V&A have been quite varied recently, which has been a pleasant change. Although I am very keen to help with the Daily Mail project, it is always good to alternate! This week and a little bit of last week, Sal and I were working on conserving comic books for a forthcoming exhibition which will be taking place next year.
The comics have been amazing, very early renditions of some classics, including a first edition of Superman (I haven’t managed to get my hands on this one yet!) and also some Daring Dan (not sure if that is correct). As yet i have not come across any Marvel comics, which are generally a favourite, especially X-Men, but I’m not actually sure they are old enough for this exhibition – its going to be a good one!
The conservation is very minimal, as their are so many comics, we can’t spend long on each of them, so they are having their covers repaired of any tears, and also any spreads that are displayed – if any. So very minimal.
The Reverence Samuel Parr L.L.D
Machine printed on wove handmade paper
This dashing man was the Rev. Samuel Parr, and is dated 1811. The media is machine printed, so not at risk from washing. The paper is a very nice wove handmade paper – at the time of the print, paper making machines were in use, but were still not making the majority of paper, this was still handmade. You can see from both sides that it is quite discolored and has a lot of reddish spots, known as foxing (this is believed to be iron content within the paper that rusts and bleeds out to the surface).
Surface cleaning using a chemical sponge.
Humidification using a water spray as photographed
Washed in a bath of tap water for approximately 20 minutes.
Left to dry somewhat on a drying rack.
Pressed recto up on a blotter under a weight, allowing any excess dirt to be drawn out through the verso onto the blotter – very clever!