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Subject: Racket battoir

Racket battoir

From: James Martin <james.s.martin>
Date: Wednesday, August 23, 1995
Anyone having knowledge of the materials and techniques of
construction of the racket battoir, or battledor, please read this
message.  We are presently studying such an object and are seeking
comparative information.  The racket we are studying weighs 125.6
grams and is 44.5 cm in length, 44.5 cm in breadth (measured across
the head which constitutes approximately one-half the length of the
racket).  It is constructed of a softwood frame, and the racket head
is hollow.

The grip is wrapped with parchment (by visual examination, protein
by FT-IR) tape beginning at the terminal end.  The racket head is
covered on both sides with parchment which is sewn together around
the rim edge like a drum head.  The rim edge was then covered with
parchment to conceal the stitching.  Surface examination reveals
blue fibers embedded in the exposed parchment surface (at loss and
abrasion) on the head, but not on the grip.  Analysis of the fibers
indicates a dyed bast fiber (probably indigo, PLM, FT-IR).  White
cotton and bast fibers are also observed within a tear at the base
of the racket head.

The racket head was painted white (calcium carbonate in protein, PLM
SEM-EDS and FT-IR).  The rim edge was then painted red (red lead and
vermilion in oil, PLM, SEM-EDS and FT-IR).  Red paint was also used
for identical decoration on both sides of the head (an arc and
six-pointed star) and for a band between the head and grip.  The red
decoration was then outlined with black paint (carbon-based black in
oil, PLM, SEM-EDS and FT-IR).  FT-IR spectra of the red and black
paint reveal strong absorption at 1533 and 1408 wavenumbers which
may indicate a lead drier (Pb was identified in both paint layers,
SEM-EDS).  No paint was applied to the grip.

In the absence of an apparent material anachronism to help date the
object, we seek comparative data for objects of this type.  Replies
not of general interest to the group may be sent to me directly.
Thanks in advance.

James Martin
Director of Analytical Services and Research
Williamstown Art Conservation Center
Williamstown, MA
Fax: 413-458-2314

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:19
                  Distributed: Monday, August 28, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-19-003
Received on Wednesday, 23 August, 1995

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