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Subject: Iron gall ink corrosion web site and list

Iron gall ink corrosion web site and list

From: Anne Muller <ecpa>
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 1998
The European Commission on Preservation and Access is happy to
announce the launching of The Iron Gall Ink Corrosion web site

Iron gall ink is arguably the most important ink in Western history.
It was known by the Romans and became widely used after the late
Middle Ages. Libraries and archives around the globe contain a vast
number of manuscripts, documents, official records, and music
compositions which were executed in iron gall ink. From the
15th-century onward it was also a popular drawing ink, favored by
artists like Rembrandt, Guercino, Lorrain, and Van Gogh.

Over time, depending on the recipe used in manufacture, and the
storage conditions of the object, iron gall ink can cause the
degradation of paper or other supports. This process is called "iron
gall ink corrosion." Turning from blue-black to dark brown as it
ages, it can actively "eat" its way through the paper. This can
eventually lead to the total loss of the paper wherever the ink was
applied. Thus iron gall ink corrosion is a major threat to our
cultural heritage.

The iron gall ink corrosion web site was developed to inform
collection keepers, conservators, scientists and any other
interested parties of ongoing research on all aspects of iron gall
ink corrosion. The web site also hopes to inform the general public
of the incipient threat caused by iron gall ink corrosion to archive
and museum collections.

The site offers detailed information on iron gall ink, ink
corrosion, current research, and conservation techniques.
Furthermore, you will find many images of corroded drawings and
manuscripts, an extensive literature list, ink recipes and a
complete transcription of the 16th-century 'A Booke of Secrets'.

A discussion list has been established simultaneously with the
web site to exchange ideas about iron gall ink. The name of the list
is INKCORROSION-L. To subscribe, please follow instructions on:

The iron gall ink corrosion web site is a joint initiative of  the
European Commission on Preservation and Access, Museum Boijmans Van
Beuningen, The Netherlands State Archives and The Netherlands
Institute for Cultural Heritage.

European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA)
P.O. Box 19121, NL-1000 GC  Amsterdam,
visiting address: Kloveniersburgwal 29, NL-1011 JV  Amsterdam,
The Netherlands
+31 20 551 0839
Fax: +31 20 620 4941

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:51
                Distributed: Tuesday, December 15, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-51-018
Received on Tuesday, 15 December, 1998

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