The History and Treatment of Works With Iron Gall Ink - Advanced Professional Development Workshop - Gatineau Preservation Centre - Library and Archives Canada
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Home > Preservation

The History and Treatment of Works With Iron Gall Ink
Advanced Professional Development Workshop
(rescheduled to February 21-23, 2005)
Workshop is full and registration is closed

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) have organized a three-day workshop on the history and treatment of works containing iron gall ink for the professional development of conservators and collection managers.

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This three-day workshop will combine hands-on lab sessions with demonstrations, lectures, and group discussion. The workshop will be held at the Gatineau Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.

Topics Include:

  • lecture on iron gall ink recipes, composition, analysis, and degradation
  • preparation of iron gall ink using an historical recipe
  • examination of artifacts [UV light, iron(II) test, Multi-spectral Imaging System (MuSIS)]
  • condition rating of artifacts with iron gall ink (using protocol developed by the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage)
  • lecture on various treatments for ink-corroded paper objects and their short- and long-term effects
  • discussion of treatment options for selected artifacts
  • lecture on simmering water treatment for a 19th-century sketchbook of iron gall ink drawings
  • lecture on the effect of simmering on the chemical and mechanical properties of paper
  • practise paper simmering, calcium phytate treatment
  • practise mechanical stabilization of ink-corroded works (re-moistenable tissue, Klucel G coated tissue)
  • practise a survey technique for collections with iron gall ink

Learning Outcomes:

  • understanding of the history and composition of iron gall ink
  • experience making iron gall ink according to an historic recipe
  • knowledge of examination techniques for works in iron gall ink
  • understanding of iron gall ink degradation
  • exposure to LAC and CCI research on iron gall ink degradation and the effect of various treatments
  • first-hand experience with treatments for paper deteriorated by iron gall ink
  • experience with stabilization treatments for paper deteriorated by iron gall ink
  • exposure to survey methodology for collections with iron gall ink


  • Maria Bedynski, paper conservator, LAC
  • Season Tse, conservation scientist, CCI
  • Sherry Guild, paper conservator, CCI
  • Registration:
    The workshop is open to conservators and collection managers with experience working in archives, libraries, and museum collections. The workshop will focus on works on paper with iron gall ink but may also be of interest to textile conservators. Enrollment is limited to 15 participants. The language of instruction will be English. The organizers reserve the right to cancel the workshop one month prior to presentation of the event if there is insufficient registration, and to make program changes as deemed necessary.

    Registration fee (includes lunches and breaks, course materials, participant’s manual, and all applicable taxes):

    CAN $ 450.00 for Canadian participants
    US $ 450.00 for all others

    Canadian Museums Association (CMA) bursaries are available for eligible Canadian participants. Please apply directly to the CMA (

    Application procedure:
    Applicants should submit their application form by June 30, 2004.

    Applicants will be notified of their standing by July 16, 2004. Accepted participants must forward the full workshop fee by September 17, 2004 in order to secure a place in the workshop.

    Application form should be submitted to:
    Christine Bradley
    Canadian Conservation Institute
    1030 Innes Road
    Ottawa ON K1A 0M5
    Tel.: (613) 998-3721 ext. 250
    Fax: (613) 998-4721