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Subject: Richard Hamilton collotype print

Richard Hamilton collotype print

From: Janice Stagnitto Ellis <jellis<-a>
Date: Thursday, August 7, 2008
We have recently been asked to treat a 1971 collotype print by
British Pop artist Richard Hamilton entitled "Black Christmas". The
print depicts Bing Crosby in a movie still from "White Christmas"
which the artist has manipulated and over-layered with multiple
layers of screen printing. The screen printing over the collotype
was made to appear like loosely brushed washes of tempera in some
places and like thick paint dripped on the print surface in other
areas. (The screen's woven pattern remains visible under the
microscope, even in the loosely washed areas.)

Our print is severely cockled, with wide areas of planar distortion
on the print area, and less deep but more frequent repeating hills
and valleys of distortion in the wide unprinted margins of the
calendared paper. The thickly applied screen printed inks are
severely cracked, and appear to be delaminating from the collotype's
distorted paper substrate below. There is also a wide and very pale
area of watery media which seems to have pooled below the printed
area around the artist's signature. The margins of this pool,
however, do not show the typical accumulation of media at the edges
or edge staining often evident in water-damaged areas.

Our research on the artist's methods and aesthetics has left us
unsure whether this distortion, cracking and pooling are the result
of the artist's technique and paper choice or whether they are an
indication of damage incurred afterward.

We are seeking input from anyone who has familiarity with Richard
Hamilton's work, and can comment whether these surface
characteristics are typical. Likewise we would welcome input from
anyone who has treated this print or other collotype prints of
Hamilton's, and can perhaps provide insight about special needs
prior to attempting to fulfill the owner's desire to consolidate
cracked media, and flatten planar distortion.

Janice Stagnitto Ellis
Quarto Conservation of Books and Paper, Inc.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:9
                 Distributed: Saturday, August 9, 2008
                        Message Id: cdl-22-9-014
Received on Thursday, 7 August, 2008

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