Conservation of a mid-19th century family photograph album

This commercially manufactured mid-19th century photo album has a full leather binding which is very degraded and worn around the edges. The spine is missing and the boards are loose. The metal clasp plates remain in place on the boards, but the clasp itself is missing.

The lower flyleaf is loose and the upper flyleaf is barely attached. Both flyleaves have damage along the fore edge.

The photographs and mounts are in stable condition.

The leaves are hinged to one another using a thin cloth which is now very weak, but only cracked in one location.

There is a cloth spine lining partially separated from the spine, with stuck-on cloth headbands adhered to the spine lining only.

All edges are gilt.


Conservation treatment:

The binding was vacuumed under low suction to remove surface soiling.

The leather was chemically consolidated.

The cloth spine lining was removed and discarded.

The extant headbands were retained.

The spine was lined with heavyweight kozo paper using wheat starch paste.

The flyleaves were mended and hinged back onto the textblock with kozo paper using wheat starch paste.

Several of the photo mounts were mended using wheat starch paste.

The spine has an extended lining of heavyweight kozo paper adhered using wheat starch paste. There are new inner hinges of kozo paper adhered using wheat starch paste.

The volume was rebacked with heavyweight kozo paper.

The new inner hinges and extended linings were put down using wheat starch paste.

The mends were toned with acrylic pigments.

Despite the conservation treatment, the volume opens with some difficulty due to lining the spine to limit the flexing of the extant cloth hinges between the mounts.

Conserved in 2020.








Limited Editions

Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-304-2652 james@reid-cunningham.com