Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A nostalgic look back

Early 14th century print of mounter

I have been uploading photos to the new external hard drive and came across one called The Studio.  A few years back I had taken photos of LS working on one of Michael's scroll which was in a pretty damaged condition.  Now LS was a conservator before he retired, one of the reasons to retire because of the tediousness of bringing scrolls back to life.  A few days ago LS had bid on a print of a 14th century mounter, which was successful and it made me think of him working.
The lady below is a 'lady of the night,' hence the tissues in her mouth, the scroll is pretty crumpled, and you can see in the second photo down, the strips of thin paper to reinforce the creases, all had to be taken off and new ones applied.  The use of water on scrolls to remove the fine tissue backing papers is usual, and the reverse procedure of putting on new tissue papers damp and tamping them down with a fine brush the next part.  All in all on your knees, typical Japanese style is hard and somehow LS had fallen out of love with conservation!  Michael was a great collector of scrolls and icons, he brought to the house once half a dozen large boxes of icons, mostly Russian, which had been in storage for 30 years, all unpacked and then packed to go back into storage.


removing fly muck

Michael is helping with the tedious job

all silks removed

Finally restoring detail to the scroll
 One of the things I delight in are the boxes of dyes and minerals that he had collected over the years, some of the paint materials used are precious such as pearls and turquoise.


  1. It is so good to have an all consuming passion like this that can sustain one through retirement. The farmer has worked every second out of doors with his animals, now can no longer work to that extent and finds it difficult sometimes to fill his days. At present he is working his way solidly through the mound of difficult jig saws he had for Christmas, and he always reads The Times from cover to cover and has three good walks a day.

    1. I sometime think LS gets bored though he loves 'sweeping' it is a meditative exercise and the lawns always look immaculate. Sometimes I wish he would write a book but nothing has happened so far.

  2. What a good contribution to art and to history that can be lost.

    1. He was an 'apprentice' for 10 years in a Japanese studio in Kyoto Tabor. Scrolls are 'mendable' because of the 'aged' glue used but it is a long process, the detail of what silks, roller, tassels and then wooden boxes used to keep the scrolls in make it a very comp;icated process.