Monday, 21 October 2013

New conservation intern, old parchment deeds!

Hi my name is Sarah and I am the new Conservation intern with LHSA. I recently graduated from Northumbria University earlier this year having completed an MA in Fine Art Conservation, specialising in ‘Works on Paper’. And after coming to this area for one of my summer placements I am very pleased and excited to be back once again to live and work in Edinburgh.

My Conservation Internship is for 10 weeks and my main task is to review the condition survey of an accession that contains parchment title deeds, other related papers and architectural plans relating to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. So my first week has been spent looking at each item within the accession with an aim to produce a treatment proposal for the accession as a whole. This internship also allows me to experience other aspects of working within an archive. I have been helping to prepare for the ‘200 years 200 Objects’ exhibition that will be taking place at the Talbot Rice Gallery next month by creating the outline and measurements for the book cradles that will be used as the display supports for a selection of bound volumes that are to be included within the exhibition.

There are many interesting aspects to the accession that I am looking at; some of the objects are very old and badly damaged. One of the objects that I looked at was dated 1610. This is the oldest object that I have ever had the privilege to handle or treat. Another interesting aspect was finding a legal document dated 1798 that had been embossed with a stamp showing the cost of postage: proof of postage before adhesive stamps were first introduced in 1840.
Proof of postage pre-adhesive stamps, 1840

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