The benefits and risks of anoxic display for colorants

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Townsend, Joyce H.; Thomas, Jacob; Hackney, Stephen; Lerwill, Andrew;


Conservation and Access: Contributions to the 2008 IIC Congress, London, p.0-0 (2008)


Tate is undertaking a major research project to assess the effects of anoxic storage on paper-based works of art. The outcomes will include: the design of a safe, affordable anoxic framing system suitable for both storage and display, capable of being incorporated into historic frames; guidelines on materials which would be harmed by anoxia and information on their recognition and behaviour. Such framing would provide safer access to paper-based works of art. This paper reviews the following materials found in paper-based works of art that are susceptible to oxidation and which could therefore benefit from anoxia: traditional colorants; modern pigments; graphic media; printing, copying or photographic processes; and oil or alkyd media. Materials, predominantly colorants, which may be susceptible to reducing reactions that proceed in the absence of oxygen, are identified for later study into their behaviour and their non-destructive identification on paper-based works of art.