Skip to content

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Elizabeth Nourse and Cats!

by Conservation


conservation , behind the scenes , cats , Elizabeth Nourse , sketchbooks , Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt , Modern Cat and Master Cats , objects conservation

Elizabeth Nourse’s Sketches of a Long-haired Cat, several drawings and outlines of a cat in different poses


The display of sketchbooks by Elizabeth Nourse in Gallery 213 was recently modified.  Because the drawings are light sensitive and the bindings of the sketchbooks are weak, some of the sketchbooks were removed from the cases and the pages of others were turned to show different images.  The drawings of cats and other animals now showing were selected by the curator to complement the upcoming Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt exhibit and the smaller exhibits of prints, Modern Cat and Master Cats, from the Museum’s permanent collection.  Our paper conservator worked with the preparators to design book cradles for each sketchbook. Even the books that were already being shown needed to have their cradles evaluated, and in most cases changed, when they were opened to different pages.  As pages in a book are turned, the binding needs support at slightly different angles.  Changing or switching out a display of artwork in order to limit its exposure to light is called a “rotation.” This will be the last rotation of this particular display, and in November the Nourse sketchbooks will go back into storage. 


Elizabeth Nourse’s sketchbook


Image Credit: Elizabeth Nourse, Sketches of a Long-haired Cat, In Sketchbook 7, 1889-90, crayon and white chalk on paper, gift of the Mercantile Library, Cincinnati, through the generosity of the Niehoff Family; 14/15.29:7