‘Advance Spring Fashions’, a Dickins and Jones catalogue from the early 20th century, has lithographic illustrations printed on glossy art paper. This allows the fine detail of the print to show the intricacy of the dresses and coats as well as the drape and lustre of the fabrics. Art paper is made by filling the paper with china clay or chalk to give a smooth surface before it is polished (calendered) to give a glossy surface. This was one of seven pamphlets sewn with metal staples. All the pamphlets were mechanically cleaned with a soft, inert eraser, gently rubbed over the paper. Six had rusty staples that had begun to damage the paper. These were recorded but removed and the staple holes were used to sew the pamphlets with long-lasting linen thread. Most pamphlets had two staples. However 'Advance Spring Fashions' had only one staple and it was difficult to pull the thread tightly and knot it to ensure it held the pages firmly together. This pamphlet had a leaf torn out with the missing area running into the other half of the folio. Japanese paper was used to repair it because its long fibres give good folding strength. These papers are handmade using techniques and materials that ensure their long-term stability. A soft edged cut is made to the repair paper and pasted, slightly overlapping the original leaf before being rubbed down to prevent cockling. Another piece of paper was shaped to infill the tear. The repair paper extended across the area of the missing leaf so that the single stitch could be added, making the pamphlet sound again. Conserving the catalogues
by Angela Craft, Senior Conservator, Senate House Library