Charming Studies

Everybody warns you that second year is harder than the first, but it never prepares you for how crazy the second year at the Conservation Center really is. Second year is when treatment actually starts, and for me that means I have paper treatment classes with Peggy Ellis, head of the Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan Library and Museum. This term, in addition to treatment with Peggy, I also have a readings class with her on subjects related to paper conservation, and I’m loving it. The class takes sources from all over to bring to light different aspects of media, paper, and conservation treatments. As a result, I’ve found myself taking note when I come across something relevant in my own reading, as I did today in A Young Man in a Hurry, And Other Short Stories by Robert W. Chambers.

From Marlitt’s Shoes:

“What luck I have had!” he said, aloud, to himself, walking over to the table and seating himself before the drawing. For an hour he studied it; touched it here and there, caressing outlines, swinging masses into vigorous composition with a touch of point or a sweeping erasure. Strength, knowledge, command were his; he knew it, and he knew the pleasure of it.

Having finished the drawing, he unpinned the pencil studies, replacing each by its detail in color—charming studies executed with sober precision, yet sparkling with a gayety that no reticence and self-denial could dim. He dusted the drawing, tacked on tracing-paper, and began to transfer, whistling softly as he bent above his work.

The story itself is rather sentimental, but isn’t that a lovely account of how drawing for publication worked at the turn of the last century?!


About Saira

Saira is a newly fledged book conservator currently working in Saint Paul, MN.
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