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Subject: Patina

Patina

From: Valerie Tomlinson <valerie_tomlinson>
Date: Sunday, October 1, 2006
Stefanie Scheerer <stefscheerer [at] yahoo__de>

>Over the last years of my work as a conservator and microbiologist
>in the field of biodeterioration, I have encountered the term
>"patina" many times, however, sometimes in different contexts with
>different applications. ...

Over the last years of my work as a conservator and microbiologist
in the field of biodeterioration, I have encountered the term
"patina" many times, however, sometimes in different contexts with
different applications.

The term "patina" in English originally referred to the stable green
oxidation products that formed on copper alloy objects with age
(generally copper carbonate). However, as languages do evolve, the
meaning of the word has changed over time to mean just about any
sort of visible surface change caused by age, and different
professions will use the term with different meanings. While the
original substance referred to by the term patina was stable, and
even considered desirable, the things that can be referred to in
modern times as a patina are not necessarily benign. The only
quality that one can be sure the term patina refers to nowadays is
that it refers to some sort of surface coating. Any other properties
involved must be be determined from the context of who you are
talking to and what type of situation is involved.

>From a conservation perspective the term patina still most commonly
refers to the surface corrosion on copper objects, although it may
not be limited to copper carbonate corrosion. It can be used with
other metals, and even with other materials, referring to an aged
surface--for example: with furniture it may refer to the
accumulation of skin oils that have interacted with the finish over
years of handling. Generally though, conservators tend to be less
liberal with their stretching and reshaping of the language, and
would not be likely to use other variant meanings of the word unless
they had become well established in the language.

Valerie Tomlinson
former conservator


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:19
                  Distributed: Monday, October 9, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-19-008
                                  ***
Received on Sunday, 1 October, 2006

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