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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Elizabeth’s Sketchbooks

by Conservation


conservation , Elizabeth Nourse , Cincinnati , Cincinnati artists , paper conservation , works on paper

Seven sketchbooks by Cincinnati artist Elizabeth Nourse (1959-1938) are being fitted on custom-made supports before installation.  The fragile books date from between 1874 and 1923.  Nourse used the books to sketch people and places she saw as she travelled in the United States, Canada, Europe and Russia.  In some cases the pages have separated from the bindings because of extensive use by the artist, and from less- than-ideal storage conditions for much of the books’ existence.   Our paper conservator determined how far each sketchbook could be safely opened, and our preparator cut flat plastic sheet material to size and bent each piece into a cradle for each volume.   The cradle gives the displayed book the support it needs without stressing the pages or binding.  The sketchbooks, along with costumes, photographs, letters, and other archival materials, are a recent gift from Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library through the generosity of the Niehoff Family.   Come see a selection of drawings and other Nourse material (including the collar described in last week’s post) in G213.