Steel engraving preservation- 1863 Longstreet's Repulse

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Steel engraving preservation- 1863 Longstreet's Repulse

Postby ewvoigt » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:15 pm

My concern is conserving a recent acquisition of a steel engraving. Apparently it has been framed against glass without matting for many years; it may be an original. The frame appears to be original and I don't want to replace it. The glass does not appear to be original because it is clear without bubbles.

The easiest would be to leave it against the glass, as is, without a mat and with core board backing [there was a wood slat board backing]. However, I am concerned about it adhering to the glass which it has not for maybe 100+ years.

The frame is 29 1/2" by 19" with a 5/6" rabbet. There is no room to mat the image because the description is close the bottom edge.
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Re: Steel engraving preservation- 1863 Longstreet's Repulse

Postby Not your average framer » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:00 pm

I used to own a secondhand bookshop and antique prints business, so I guess I ought be the one to answer this one. Keeping the print in the original frame seems sensible enough, but you are taking a bit of a chance framing this print in direct contact with the glass and I don't think that covering over the description is necessarily a bad thing to do if a copy of the description can be stuck to the back of the frame, or assuming that the available space around the image is adequate to include a text window below the image.

If you decide to go for fitting a mount with a text window, then a double mount would make it possible to have a text window in the front mount with the mount behind this separating the added text from the print as a wise precaution. BTW, I am assuming that an old engraving like this will also have a plate mark pressed into the print paper arould the printed image and would point out that it is normal to allow an adequate size of aperture to show both the image and the plate mark. This is normal practice to do this as the plate mark is a feature which demonstrates that this is an original as opposed to a modern reproduction print.
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Re: Steel engraving preservation- 1863 Longstreet's Repulse

Postby vintage frames » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:14 am

If you want to conserve the print and put it back into it's original frame, then my advice is to first float mount it onto some museum board. Then place some paper wrapped spacer fillets into the rebate so that there is a 1/4" spacing between the print and the glass. You say the rebate is 5/6" wide, so there should be lots of room for the spacer fillets. I'm assuming the print was "close framed" before so there really wouldn't be any room to include a mount without masking the plate mark,just as NYAF advised against.
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