Some tests on the use of wax for fixing flaking paint on illuminated parchment

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Marconi, Bohdan;


Studies in conservation, Volume 7, Number 1, p.17-21 (1962)


adhesive, beeswax, Cancionale, consolidation, dammar, Europe, France, Germany, microcrystalline wax, painting, parchment, prayer books, wax


The adhesive chosen should be insoluble in water, because, firstly, manuscript paintings commonly have a proteinaceous medium sensitive to water, and secondly, the parchment itself may become wavy. Two adhesives were tested, the first a microcrystalline wax of melting point 105-107°C (Be Square Special Wax), and the second a mixture of five parts beeswax to four parts dammar. These were applied with a heated spatula. Any tendency to change the intensity of colours or to increase transparency were noted. So long as impregnation of the parchment is not too deep, no change in appearance occurs. This is also the case with the paint, except in cases where there was very little medium, when the colours were slightly darkened. The treatment could be performed rapidly, and adhesion was good. The water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol, on the other hand, even in 1% solution, caused some increase in gloss, darkening, and a slight deformation of the surface. Garry Thomson