This Percy Smith etching and dry point print was conserved at Camberwell College, as it is part of their teaching collection.


The primary support was adhered within a large window mount, as were others in the collection, with linen tape, in a hinged fashion. There was a large loss to the object in the top left corner of the recto, as well as a scratch in the lower right corner. There was some surface dirt and foxing, but overall the condition was not too bad. The media was likely to be a carbon black ink, and was in good condition. There was also some graphite present in the form of inscriptions. A plate mark surrounded the image area also.


The object was first removed from the window mount using a heat from a hair dryer to soften the adhesive, and a spatula.

The primary support was then cleaned using eraser particles and a chemical sponge on non-image areas only.

Two rectangles of tape had been left on the top edge of the verso after removal from the mount, and these had to be removed. The tape was linen, and the top layer was removed by wetting and then scraping with a spatula. Removal of the woven part of the tape was attempted in the same manner, but the object became wet and this risked skinning the paper. Thus a wheat starch poultice was applied to swell the tape and adhesive below, which was then successfully removed mechanically. Some small adhesive residues remained after this process.


The object was then immersion washed to remove the small residues of adhesive that remained as well as remove discolouration and degradation products from the support. The object was then flattened, with an extra piece of blotter cut to the same size as the plate mark so as not to lose this impression when pressing.


The repairs were then carried out, with an infill in the top right corner and some Japanese tissue adhered to the scratch for reinforcement. Excess repair paper was trimmed and the object placed back in it’s original box with the rest of the collection, in between sheets of acid-free tissue.




There was only a limited amount of work that needed undertaking on this object – surface cleaning, tape removal, washing and repairs, but all were carried out well and with care. The end result was a more stable and safe object, with treatments being considered a success.