INVESTIGATION AND CONSERVATION OF A PRIVATE PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION OF ALBUMEN PRINTS, EGYPT
Document Type: Original Article
Eldeeb, H.(*), Ali, M., Mansour, M.,Ali, M.
Conservation dept., Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo Univ., Giza, Egypt.
Albumen prints are the most important photographic prints of the late 19th century. It is basically composed of two layers: the first layer is the paper support (i.e. cellulose), and the second layer is the image layer (i.e. image silver particles embedded in an albumen binder layer). There are several factors threatening the permanence of albumen prints (e.g., fluctuating temperatures and relative humidity, frequent han-dling, air pollution, light, and improper storage and display). Unlike other paper objects, photographs have special cons-ervation requirements due to their complex and unique nature. A private collection was selected for this study. The collection consists of three albumen prints from Francis Amen’s photo collection, which originally belonged to the Elhagar family. Francis Amin is a well-known photo collector in Egypt. The prints date back to 1890. The photographs were characterised and studied by visual inspection, digital microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Microbiological studies were carried out in the mic-robiology laboratory at the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University. Results revealed that the albumen layer suffers from cracks and chemical degradation, and the secondary supports suffer from both oxidation and hydrolysis. Based on the obtained results, the following conservation procedures were selected and carried out: disinfection, dry cleaning, tear mending and compensating for losses, remounting, reto-uching, and rehousing.
Albumen prints Visual inspection FTIR SEM Microbiological studies Conservation
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