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Subject: Faded vellum

Faded vellum

From: Donald Farren <dfarren>
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999
Can vellum be said to fade?  I was prompted to wonder by reading an
article in today's New York Times about the Real Academia Espanola,
"Madrid Journal: The Hispanic World Speaks, and Spain Listens," by
Marlise Simons. The article describes the seat of the academy in
Madrid as housing "shelves stacked with outsized books clad in
fading vellum".  My first reaction, because I have never noticed the
condition, was that the reporter's citation of "fading vellum" was
merely an ignorant rhetorical flourish (akin to that of another
reporter for the New York Times who never can write about a library
without using the word "musty"), but then I began to wonder about
the extent of my own ignorance.

Looking in Roberts and Etherington, I found them stating that
"vellum can be stained virtually any color but seldom is", and I
realized that my experience with vellum books is with those
unstained.  Has anyone observed, among the several problems of
vellum bindings, stained or otherwise, the problem of fading?  (I
envision the condition that booksellers call "sunning"--fading, due
to exposure to light, of the color of a cloth binding, say on the

Donald Farren
4009 Bradley Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
voice 301.951.9479
Fax: 301-951-3898

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:3
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 24, 1999
                        Message Id: cdl-13-3-010
Received on Wednesday, 23 June, 1999

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