As is somewhat typical, we’ve been working on varied collections lately in the Paper Lab, from 18th century English legal documents to 20th century drainage maps of Indiana counties. Along the way, some fun and interesting details have come up worth photographing and sharing.
We’re a few days late for St. Valentine’s day, but here’s a wax and shellac seal found on a document dated 1741, England. William Allen’s seal appears to be a tiny Cupid, including a tiny winged heart flying above and to the left of him.
Within the same collection, we came across some interesting foxing-like marks on a 18th century paper, only they were a well-defined ring structure rather than the diffuse spotting normally associated with the term. Magnification revealed a tiny blue-green deposit at the center of most, suggesting a copper salt. We’ll likely not know if a copper-based pigment fell into the paper vat, or if errant copper particles developed a patina over time, but the copper has clearly induced oxidation of the paper around it. Incidentally, the core absorbs UV light very heavily in the center, bounded by a region of orange fluorescence, then the outermost ring absorbs heavily again.
Some other items are this 17th century Frankenstein-esque vellum repair…
…and these two naked chaps diving off a boat in a 19th century engraving of ‘Tynemouth Castle, & Bathing Place.