How does the British Museum mount their prints?

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Foresty_Forest
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How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Foresty_Forest » Sun 23 May, 2021 9:21 am

I have several Graham Sutherland etchings that I'd like to window mount and frame. I want to mount them as well as a museum. How does the British Museum mount their prints? Do they simply use acid free tape like the rest of us, and just tape the print to the mount? It seems too permanent to me for a famous artist's work, but maybe I'm over thinking it?

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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by pramsay13 » Sun 23 May, 2021 4:43 pm

Not sure about the British museum but if you don't want to use tape you can use a platform mount so nothing touches the paper at all.
Just search on the forum for platform mount.
Another thing to remember is that the museum will have temperature / light controlled environments so if you want to overthink it you should consider where they are hanging.

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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Not your average framer » Sun 23 May, 2021 5:46 pm

The british museum has their on department for this, staffed by their own conservation trained staff. I would think that it's extremely unlikely that they with be using normal self adhesive tapes for hinging. Don't forget that much of the stuff in the museum has been purchased at great expence with tax payer's money and they are accountable for is continuing long term condition and value. I guessing that hinging will definately be carried out in such a way as to be fully and safely reversible and that probably means conservation quality tissue paper hinges (probably japanesse mulbury tissue) and cooked wheat starch paste. I don't think that they will be afraid to spend a triffling small amont of money to make sure that hinging artwork is done properly and insure both long term protection and reversiblity. As already mentioned the platform mount is an excellent way of completely ensuring straight forward protection and full reversibility of mounted artworks, especially for old and fragile items of great value and unlikely to be replaceable.

I have been require to reframe various artwork over the years which has needed labels on the original backing to be removed for the old backing and fitted to be new backing to preserve the historical provinance. Much of this provinance related to items being loaned to national, or very well respected galleries and museums. I has been very common for such items to be mounted and undermount with thick conservation, or museum quality mountboards and most of these are quite obviously cotton rag mounts. If you really want to frame anything to proper museum practice, i would suggest the following:

1. Thick museum mount board for mounts and undermounts.

2. Definitely consider using platform mounts, but otherwise conservation qualiy tissue paper hinging to the undermount and book hingeing brtween the longest side of the mount and the under mount.

3. Seal the rebate in the frame with Linco foil barrier tape, if the frame is to be a wooden one.

4. Glazing in frame to be of museum grade glass.

5. Backboard needs to be solid enough to prevent accidents where penetration on the back due to sharp object is a reasonable possibility in unforeseen circumstances.

6. Consider acid prevention barrier between the under mount and the backing board, heavy gauge mylar is normally adequate for this.

7. Enclose a paper report of the work that be carried out and a list stating the type and quality of any materials used. Where existing materials remain as part of the framing this should be stated. This report should include the name of who has undertaken this work and the date. The report should be placed in the frame so as to be the other side of the heavey gauge mylar acid barrier from the artwork package in case the paper contain any undesireable contamination. Very often another copy of the same report in contain in an envelope on the rear of the backing, but not sealed down so that when neccessary the report can be removed to be read.

I worked at one time as a bookbinder and paper conservator working for a business in Southsea and did plenty of conservation work on old historic ducuments and maps. It was a normal requirement to provide a report of any restoration work done to accompany items like these, when they were sold. Professionalism is especially the expection of museum, or conservation quality work and ducumenting what has been done is the norm in many cases. I stil have most of my bookbinding and paper conservation equipment, even all these years later.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Not your average framer » Sun 23 May, 2021 7:22 pm

While I think about it, I have several customers who are part time living in Devon and the rest of the time living in London and the home counties, some of these customer bring in painting which they have bought from exhibitions at major London galleriesin posh parts of Lodon such as Chelsea, Bayswater, Piccadilly, St James, Belgraviour and similar places. It is often to remove gass and spcers, or slips from framed oil paintings or even replacing broken glass.

Many of these frames have been produced by leading names in London's hand made and hand finished elite and I'm always careful to have a good look at see what I can learn for such people. You are often able to discover techniques, that you have never read about in books, or even heard mentioned anywhere. Lots of these hand made frames have significantly larger that normal rebates, sliding dovetails across the mire joints at the rear of the the frames and olso strips of acid free blotting paper between the fronts surface of frame rebates and oil paints to prevent oil paintings becoming stuck to the inside o the frame.

Obviously any blotting paper which adheres to the oil painting can be harmlessly removed from the oil painting with a mixture of white spirit and Vulpex liquid soap. Traditional ways of doing things seems to be still the way that things are done and in these modern times it's surprising that strips of Mylar don't get used instead, but apparently not so! It is always very obvious that the workmanship from such framers is of the very highest standards and some of the hand finishes are just amazing to look at. I'm told that some of these painting are framed in frames costing as much as a thousand pounds.

Before I forget to mention it frame slips are often backed with blotting paper to avoid the slips touching the mounts as well. Many of these Master Frame Makers started as apprentices to lean their trade.
Mark Lacey

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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by JonathanB » Mon 24 May, 2021 8:46 am

If you want an authoritative view on the subject, there's a really good book 'Conservation Mounting for prints and drawings - a manual based on current practice at the British Museum' by Joanna Kosek, a senior conservator at the British Museum. You can find a copy at archetype.co.uk for £49.50, which annoyingly is a bit cheaper than my copy. It's full of information and guides for a wide variety of different mounting styles, but you will still find instructions on carrying out 'T' hinging and inset or platform mounts that we all use regularly and that are acceptable at this level, as reflected in Level 1 framing standards from the Guild. It's a really good book and very handy as a reference for when you get something in that needs extra levels of care.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 24 May, 2021 9:14 am

There is also a book on broadly speaking much the same subject available from The Fine Art Trade Guild, I don't know where my copy is right now, so I cannot give you details of the author and title. I've got an idea that the author might be Annabel Rushden, but I could easily be wrong about that, While rumaging about I have also come across another book,which I bought from the FATG's bookshop, which may provide other interesting reading.

The book is Curatorial Care of Works of Art on Paper by Anne F Clapp. I would not go as far as to personally recommend this book as it is not a book written specifically with picture framing in mind, but it may be a useful related reference and perhaps an interesting read. Being an ex-bookbinder and paper conservator it has perhaps been more interesting to me, for that aspect that in connection directly with picture framing.
Mark Lacey

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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by prospero » Mon 24 May, 2021 9:51 am

A great deal of the paper art in museums and public collections is not on display. They just don't have the wall space.
It is usually mounted not for aesthetic considerations but to make it so it can be handled safely.
Academics can visit a gallery by arrangement and examine the work that the gallery has squirrelled away in drawers and
if it is book-mounted it's easy the flip the window open and see the whole thing. The artwork itself doesn't have to be handled.

Now and then they might alternate the displays and get some work out of 'stock', frame it and put the previously displayed work
back in storage.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by David McCormack » Mon 24 May, 2021 10:29 am

This video shows you how they do it :D

https://collectionstrust.org.uk/resourc ... ills-film/

It's 17 minutes long but very informative.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Tudor Rose » Mon 24 May, 2021 11:07 am

Another vote here for the Joanna Kosek book Justin mentioned. Absolutely fascinating and very informative.

I’d be using Level 1 Cotton boards for aperture and undermount and platform mount the prints. If that isn’t your choice then Japanese hinging papers and paste (wheat, rice or Methyl Cellulose) whatever your preference is. Definitely not any form of self adhesive tape.

I’d also recommend the Guild’s Study Guide (latest version issued this year) as a helpful source of information.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by prospero » Mon 24 May, 2021 12:41 pm

David McCormack wrote:
Mon 24 May, 2021 10:29 am
This video shows you how they do it :D
That's a very interesting vid. :D

I do question the wisdom of the hinge placement though. :roll:
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Tudor Rose » Mon 24 May, 2021 2:21 pm

That is a fascinating video. Thanks for posting a link.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Kweji » Tue 29 Jun, 2021 9:48 am

Great to know... and interesting video
Thanks for posting link

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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by JFeig » Tue 29 Jun, 2021 1:39 pm

My variation on her process is that I use a scrap of glass versus a scrap of mat board to the pallet when applying the paste.
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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by jackharry » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 2:41 pm

Really so Fantastic and wonderful.
Keep it up

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Re: How does the British Museum mount their prints?

Post by Alberto S » Fri 27 Aug, 2021 11:18 am

Yes. It's really good.

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