Vellum from a Psalter

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Vellum from a Psalter

Postby +Rafe+ » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:38 pm

Hi all

Bit of a head scratcher this one…

I have been asked to frame a piece of vellum from a Psalter. It is 270mm x 185mm. It is printed on both sides, but the client seems comfortable to only display the more decorative side.

I have read all the previous posts on Vellum and Mark (NYAF) has offered his view specifically regarding mounting the vellum. Thank you, Mark!

I was keen to open this up a bit more to get other thoughts and ask if anyone has had any recent experiences with similar items?

The process I have gathered is to use ribbon on each of the corners to secure to museum mountcard that would allow the vellum to expand and contract, as it characteristically does and frame in a deep box frame with 19mm spacer to allow plenty of room.

I have read online (http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/c ... d-storage/) an interesting article from the V&A that talks about using Mulberry paper and wheat starch, which was my first thought and as dry as possible. This is a method I use a lot.

Using the ribbon method seems logical but I haven’t had experience of this so far.

I assume that one would cut slits in the mountcard to pass the ribbon through, but I am not sure how to then secure the ribbon on the reverse side. Double sided tape (atg) seems crude and not within Museum standard… Equally how tight (or not) would these corner ribbons need to be to ensure it holds the item while being also loose enough to allow for movement.

As for the ribbon the client has requested silk, but I am not sure about silk’s properties with vellum, again if anyone has thoughts…?

I think I am kind of there with my execution just mindful of how fragile vellum can be and also its tendencies to expand and contract with humidity changes and keen to know as much as possible before accepting the job. As I say, any advice massively welcome.

Thanks as always!
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Re: Vellum from a Psalter

Postby Not your average framer » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:36 am

I would not use silk ribbons, as my first preference, silk is quite sensitive to contact with the wrong things and it's hard to be sure about what's going to happen over what period of time. Ribbon's are made from different substances and I am not much of and expert of what these all are, but a lot of the "run of the mill" ribbons are made of Polyester.

Polyester ribbons look very silky, they don't rot and polyester is a conservation friendly and totally chemically inert polymer. Mylar is a name that most framers on this forum will recognise as used for many conservation mounting purposes. Well, Mylar is du pont's brand name for polyester and very safe to use for this purpose.

Don't fasten the corners of the velum, so that things are to tight. Velum is going to want to move a bit with seasonal variations of temperature and humidity. Velum also by it's very nature does not lie flat and don't try to make it lie flat, it's a bad idea and if you restain it too much in one place, it will create unwanted movement and even buckling somewhere else.

Don't get too bothered about how to attach the ends of the ribbon to the back of the mountboard, this is going to be something you will need to have proper control of so you can adjust the tightness, or looseness of each ribbon to get the right results and appearance. My personal preference is to not cut the tails of the ribbons too short and too stick the ends down under some of that white gummed paper tape, then bend the ribbon back over the edge on the first layer of tape and stick another layer of tape on top again and then do the same procedure once again.

The bends in the ribbon need to be coinciding with the edge of the tape to not allow any slack to enable movement and the next layer of tape needs to extend beyond the edge of the previous layer of tape and the coinciding bend in the ribbon. The white gummed paper tape is essentially just a white version of the brown gummed paper tape and as far as I know is not a conservation level of material, but there is no need to fix it directly on top of the slot in the mountboard. If you place the tape 10mm away from the slot, that will give you some separation distance.

Is sounds a bit fiddly at first, but it's easier than it sounds and after you've done it once, it's really quite easy to do. Enjoy, it will look great!
Mark Lacey

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― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: Vellum from a Psalter

Postby +Rafe+ » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:07 am

Thank you Mark, once again!

I am using Crescent solid core Museum board to mount it on and after I wrote my post I had a thought about the back of the Vellum which is printed on.

Should I be aware of potential issues with this side getting damaged as the vellum moves around, is there anything I could do to mitigate this?

Regarding the slot position is it best to make the slots in the mount at the edge of the vellum or slightly underneath the corner of the vellum - if you get what I mean. Again I am thinking about the pressure put on the vellum and of course what looks the neatest.

I would think slots at the edge would allow more movement but would be noticeable to the viewer...
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Re: Vellum from a Psalter

Postby Not your average framer » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:13 pm

As far as I can remember, the bits of Velum that I have framed, never had nice clean edges and where not necessarily completely square either and there was a bit of wiggle room, (not too much), but there was no attempt to loose the cuts in the mountboard behind the velum at att. Things made of velum that I have framed are mostly old deeds and land ownership documents. Making it look too precise on something old can seem a little out of character, I tend to think.
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Re: Vellum from a Psalter

Postby Steve N » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:50 pm

With the size ( 270mm x 185mm.) of vellum you have, I wouldn't be too worried about it moving much, the size of house deeds are much bigger, sometimes around 800mm x 700mm , with something of that size it will expand & shrink a lot, but the size you have I wouldn't be surprised if it only expanded and shrunk (over time) by less than 5mm overall
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Re: Vellum from a Psalter

Postby Not your average framer » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:17 pm

Some of my house deeds where already folded several times and where framed folded, because nobody wanted to flatten them out. There's a book dealer in the redcliffe area of Bristol who sells stuff like this. It does not seem to matter which house the deeds belong to, it just another artifact that someone wants to frame a hang in their old house. There's a lot of money in some of these old artifacts, these days.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
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