Appelbaum, Barbara. "Conservation Treatment and Methodology," 2010.
This is not just a specialist text for conservators, though that is one of the things it is. For the rest of us it’s a fascinating guide to thinking about objects in the world, among them art objects, and how we value them. The last sentence reads, “Using a combination of science and handwork to enhance the value of objects is, in fact, one of the great pleasures of being a conservator.” Look up “value” in the index— it has more page citations than any other word, by far. There is much to ponder here, and it’s engagingly written. Every home should have one!
Appelbaum, Barbara. “Guide to Environmental Protection of Collections,” Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1991
Owners and stewards of works of art can support the preservation of the works in their care by understanding and moderating the environment in which the works are displayed or stored. This book outlines in careful detail the issues and proper responses. Temperature, relative humidity, light and lighting, air quality, and mold and pest control are all covered. Three chapters are devoted to materials—organic, inorganic, and mixed (pictures frames are among this latter category, which we were happy to see). The writing is lively and the message is essential for the preservation of works of art. Out of print and will be till late 2012 or so. Meanwhile, used copies can be found on Bookfinder and Amazon.
Bachmann, Konstanze, ed. “Conservation Concerns,” Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
Strongest on the proper storage of collections with chapters on the storage of works on paper (photographs get a chapter of their own); fabrics and costumes; textiles; paintings; sound recordings; stone, ceramic glass and metal. Other chapters treat climate control and describe conditions that require a conservator. Several highly regarded conservators have contributed chapters. A good reading list and supplier list is included, though since the publishing date is 1992, a number have moved or gone out of business.
Ellis, Margaret Holben. “The Care of Prints and Drawings,” Nashville, TN: AASLH Press, 1987.
Ellis’s book is the one we most often reach for when a conservation question arises. It’s clear and comprehensive and an excellent resource for artists, collectors, and professionals in the field. "The objects I speak of caring for and preserving need not belong to a museum," says the author. "The book is meant to be useful...to anyone responsible for providing good care and a safe environment for prints and drawings." More than useful; it’s essential.
Hatchfield, Pamela. “Pollutants in the Museum Environment,” London: Archetype Publications Ltd. 2002.
And not just museums: helpful to artists, collectors, and gallerists. This comprehensive book is especially informative about the impact of materials on works of art—the risks of out-gassing from wood products for instance, and the options for mitigation. The chapter, “Protecting Objects in Enclosures” details the materials and means to minimize the impact of pollutants in such enclosures as display cases and picture frames. This is an important resource.
Tuttle, Craig A. “An Ounce of Preservation, a guide to the care of papers and photograph,” Highland City, FL: Rainbow Books, 1995.
A summary of good practices for collectors, and useful as an introduction to caring for a collection. Sometimes he goes a bit too far: he provides instructions for de-acidification of works on paper for example, which should be done by a conservator if done at all.
Wilhelm, Henry and Carol Brower. The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs. Grinnell, IA: Preservation Publishing Co., 1993.
There is no other book to compare to this 774 page volume. Wilhelm and Brower have been performing in-depth and real time studies of color photographs since the 1970’s. Though this book was published some time ago, in 1993, it provides the foundation for understanding the subject. Wilhelm and Brower are the co-founders of Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. Their website provides up to date and brand name specific information on printers, papers and inks. The book is out of print but a pdf version can be downloaded from their site.