The William Morris SocietyBack to Grants for Conservation Projects
Tru Vue Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme
Grant Sum Awarded
Icon Accredited Conservator
The Kelmscott Press was William Morris’s last creative endeavor in which he set out to revive the craft aesthetic of medieval book production. The Society is fortunate to have a number of Kelmscott Press books, one of the four original Albion Printing Presses used by the company and an assortment of items on paper that showcase the design process.
This grant allowed us to have further Kelmscott Press items on paper conserved and framed, enabling us to take these significant pieces out of art storage and display them for the first time at the home of the Kelmscott Press.
This project has assisted us in streamlining our object framing. The William Morris Society typically has tailor-made mounts and frames created for our temporary exhibitions as well as for works going on loan, this approach has put pressure on an already small storage space, and makes the retrieval of the frames dangerous. This project is the beginning step of our adoption of standard sizes for our frames (as already practiced in many museums and galleries in the UK) as the most cost effective and practical approach to protecting and displaying the collection. This also enables us to be more sustainable to reuse frames, rather than to make new ones.
The conservation and framing was undertaken by our accredited conservator-restorer at ARConservation.
Works on Paper
The works on paper were in good condition, with minor blemishes (incl. surface dirt, slight distortions, and creases). The treatment involved:
- Surface cleaning using the conservation sponge (made of vulcanized rubber), Staedtler Mars grated eraser and soft brushes.
- Control humidification using a Gore-Tex membrane and capillary matting inside a chamber
- After humidification, the items were pressed under thick blotting papers and a light weight.
Works on Parchment
An exceptionally pristine printed text on parchment with a fold along the gutter.
Parchment is a durable material but it’s dimensionally unstable and tends to expand and contracts in respond to changes in the environment. To manage this, the ‘slot hinging’ method was used by pasting numerous hinges around the borders and threading them through a thick backing paper.
The outcome of this project is protecting these significant items for future generations and enabling their regular display to educate on the legacy of William Morris and the private press movement.
The outcomes of this project have progressed our charitable purpose, which is to further knowledge of the life and works of William Morris. Having these pieces on regular display for visitors allows for learning of this important chapter of Morris’s life and career, an aspect that is not as often highlighted as his work at Morris&Co. Having the rare chance to see these original pieces could perhaps even inspire further study into Morris’s seminal Kelmscott Press series.