Wednesday, August 19th, 2015...4:26 pm

King Luckieboy Prepares for His Debut

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The “King Luckieboy’s Party” graphite on tracing paper drawings came to the Weissman Preservation Center conservation lab in preparation the Walter Crane exhibition (which runs September 21st-December 19th) primarily because the drawings were at risk for damage due to the housing.

Drawing #8, recto, before treatment.  Torn corner is visible at top right.

Drawing #8, recto, before treatment. Torn corner is visible at top right.

The treatment, however, unexpectedly uncovered what may be evidence of the original intent of the drawings which had been hidden since they were placed in the housing around one hundred or so years ago. The eight tracing paper drawings were each originally spot adhered at all four corners to a single page of a four folio paper booklet. Over time, the adhesive had become desiccated and, as a result, a number of drawings had a corner or two which had detached from the booklet page while two had become completely detached. This put the pieces at risk for damage as the lightweight tracing paper drawings would either flop or slide around as the booklet pages were turned. This method of attachment also caused strain to the tracing paper, particularly at the corners, which led to the corner of one drawing tearing off completely (see before treatment photo).

Drawing #8, verso, after treatment, detail.  The lines that appear darker are on the verso and those that appear lighter are on the recto.

Drawing #8, verso, after treatment, detail. The lines that appear darker are on the verso and those that appear lighter are on the recto.

The decision was made to remove the drawings, which was done by carefully sliding a microspatula in between the tracing paper and booklet page and gently releasing the corner from the adhesive layer. This made the verso of the drawings accessible for the first time and made visible drawn lines made with thinner, harder graphite which traced the drawing on the recto. This was a common technique used for transferring a drawing to a woodblock and was most likely the original purpose for this set of tracing paper drawings.

Thanks to Karen Walter, Senior Paper Conservation Technician for Special Collections for contributing this post.

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