Utagawa Kunisada - Conservation
When this striking oriental piece arrived with our conservation team it was adhered to an acidic board support which had caused the artwork to become extremely brittle. Our technicians carefully removed the board and then released adhesive and paper residues by immersion washing. This process removed significant amounts of soluble discolouration from the paper, brightening its appearance and reducing the presence of compounds that can cause further deterioration. The artwork was lined with Japanese paper and PEL Japanese wheat starch paste to repair the piece and provide support. De-acidification was carried out to neutralise any acids remaining within the paper and to impart a protective alkaline reserve. The artwork was then humidified and gently pressed to reduce creasing and retouched over tears and losses using Winsor and Newton Artists Quality watercolours and Sennelier Pastels À L’Écu.
The dramatic improvement to this piece is demonstrated in these before and after photographs.