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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back

Chine Collé Prints
a brief history and treatment overview

by Rebecca Pavitt
Conservator, Pacific Conservators
Vancouver, BC

WHAT is chine collé? A rough translation of this French term is “thin paper attached with glue”. Chine refers to thin tissue paper, traditionally imported from China, Japan and India. Collé refers to the glue or paste used to attach this thin tissue to heavier Western made plate paper.

Cherubs, Treatment with pockets of delamination

The smooth surface of the Oriental tissue papers accepts finer printing detail than the more coarsely textured plate papers. Tissue papers are, however quite weak. Pasting them to thicker paper gives them strength and stability.

Chine collé prints enjoyed great popularity in the late 18th and 19th centuries, when they were used for high quality art prints and book illustrations. They commanded higher prices than the same image printed on ordinary plate paper. Nowadays, chine collés are rarely produced outside of small fine art editions.

Primary sources describe more than one method of attaching the thin China paper to the plate paper. English printers typically pasted or flour dusted the tissue just prior to printing. French printers tended to use dry, pre-pasted tissue, activating the adhesive at the time of printing by laying it on damp plate paper. Sometimes no adhesive was used at all – printers simply relied on the very high pressure of the printing process to bond the papers together.

Chine collés are subject to the same damages as other types of prints, but their layered structure makes them more sensitive to water based conservation treatments. Water can cause the two layers to lift at the edges, to separate in central bubble pockets (see illustration), or to delaminate entirely. Stains can usually be removed or reduced by techniques such as vapour bleaching, float washing, and flushing water through the papers on the suction table.

Cherubs, Treatment, with papers rejoined

Despite such precautions, delaminations can occur during treatment. Sometimes minimal intervention, such as drying and pressing will remedy the problem. In difficult cases the papers must be separated entirely (a slow and painstaking process!) and reattached in their original position using a clear Mylar support and thin wheat starch paste.

Because printers are such a diverse group, and use so many methods (published and proprietary) to join the two sheets of paper, one can never be entirely sure just how a particular print will behave with even as simple a treatment as humidification and flattening. The main points to remember when treating chine collé prints are to start slowly to learn from the behaviour of each individual print, and to keep a weather eye out for trouble.

For more information visit the FACTS (Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards) website at www.artfacts.org.

Last issue: What is your favourite colour?

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008