INTRODUCTION Paper manuscripts and pen drawings made with irongall inks are subject to ink corrosion. This is the deterioration of the paper support by the ink, leading to a loss of mechanical strength. In some cases the ink has eaten through the paper. This process usually takes centuries. Fig. 1 shows the damage caused by an irongall ink on a pen drawing made by the 17th-century Italian painter Guercino, kept at Teylers Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands. The first signs of ink corrosion are the formation of brown edges at the ink regions (Fig. 1) and the appearance of the ink at the verso side of the paper as brown discoloration. This discoloration may consist of cellulose-oxidation products or of iron (III) hydroxide, formed by oxidation of iron (II) ions. Changes in relative humidity during storage enhance diffusion of iron (II) ions out of the ink regions. Offsetting of the ink to a contact leaf can also be observed. Irongall inks basically were produced by mixing aqueous solutions of iron (II) sulfate and gallotannin-containing extracts of gallnuts.l The actual ink is formed by air oxidation of iron (II) ions to iron (III) ions, which form water-insoluble complexes with the
Restaurator - International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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