JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 161 to 173)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 161 to 173)




. A number of simple tests in the laboratory simulated this process and were revealing about the phenomenon. Fabrics of similar weight to the Sawyer painting were attached to wood stretchers and either left unsized, sized hot with a 5% rabbit skin glue using a brush, or sized cold with the same glue using a spatula. The fabrics were then coated with a layer of calcium carbonate in dammar varnish, which dried for 1 month to a brittle film. These test fabrics were then subjected to fluctuations of relative humidity to induce random cracking patterns. They were then soaked in water and monitored to record the times at which physical changes occurred.


. Reaction of the painting to a moderately high moisture level of 78% RH indicates that conservators should exercise the greatest caution when carrying out moisturizing treatments, whether localized misting or treatments in humidity chambers.


Bell, M.1978. William Sawyer, portrait painter. Kingston, Canada: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University.

CCI. 1981. Adhesive Testing Program, Analytical Research Service 1825–1981. Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Conservation Institute.

Collins, G. E.1939. Fundamental principles that govern the shrinkage of cotton goods by washing. Journal of the Textile Institute30:46–52.

Fieux, R. E.1984. Silicone polymers for relining of paintings. In Adhesives and consolidants, ed.N. S.Brommelle et al. London: International Institute for Conservation. 46–49.

Gransow, A.1984. A preliminary investigation into novel adhesive materials for cold-lining paintings. Unpublished research. Kingston, Canada: Art Conservation Program, Queen's University.

Gray, K. L.1971. The swelling and shrinkage of untreated fabrics. In Chemical aftertreatment of textiles, ed.H.Mark et al. New York: Wiley-Interscience. 115–33.

Harwood, F. C.1936. The problem of shrinkage. Journal of the Textile Institute27:333–44.

Haywood, R.1988. Personal communication. Rohm and Haas Canada, Inc., Toronto. January 12.

Hedley, G.1975. Some empirical determinations of the strain distribution in stretched canvasses. ICOM Committee for Conservation Preprints, 4th Triennial Meeting, Venice, 75/11/4/1–75/11/4/17.

Hedley, G.1988. Relative humidity and the stress/strain response of canvas paintings: Uniaxial measurements of naturally aged samples. Studies in Conservation33:133–48.

Karpowicz, A.1990. A study on development of cracks on paintings. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation29:169–80.

Keck, C. K.1981. A white wax facing useful for special circumstances. Unpublished typescript. Cooperstown, New York.


Beva 371

Conservation Materials Ltd., 1165 Marietta Way, Sparks, Nev. 89431

Dacron polyester, 8.25 oz.

Aquino Sailcloth, City Island, N.Y. (Aquino no longer in business, Bainbridge-Aquabatten, Canton, Mass., supplies Dacron polyester in 8.3 oz. weight).

Keytone Resin N

BASF product no longer produced

Rhoplex N-580

Conservation Materials Ltd., 1165 Marietta Way, Sparks, Nev. 89431

Tengujo paper

Aiko's Art Materials, 3346 N. Clark St., Chicago, Ill. 60657


GIANFRANCO POCOBENE received his master of arts in conservation at the Art Conservation Programme, Queen's University, in 1984. He was assistant conservator at the Art Conservation Laboratory in Raymond, New Hampshire from 1984 to 1985. He returned to Queen's University to conserve paintings from the collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre from 1985 to 1988. During that time he also worked on several mural projects in Canada and was paintings conservator for the Alfred Bader Collection, Queen's University. From 1988 to 1989 he was an intern at the Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard University Art Museums. He has been at the Center since 1989 and is currently an associate conservator of paintings. Address: Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard University Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Mass. 02138

IAN HODKINSON graduated from Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art with an M.A. in fine art in 1958. He undertook postgraduate studies in 1958 and 1959 at the Central Institute for Restoration in Rome. From 1958 to 1969 he was employed as restorer for the National Trust for Scotland, becoming chief restorer in 1965. He joined the faculty of Queen's University in 1969 and established the master's degree program in art conservation there in 1974. He was head of the Restoration and Conservation Laboratory at the National Gallery of Canada from 1977 to 1979. In 1979 he returned to Queen's University and is currently professor of fine art conservation and director of the Art Conservation Programme. Address: Art Conservation Programme, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.

Copyright � 1992 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works