Maps are drawn on paper or parchment and are often stored rolled because of their size. Those on paper usually have a cloth backing to give strength. The cloth on this map, a plan of the Anstey estate, Alton dated 1813 - Finding No 4M51/571 - had become degraded and the paper embrittled causing splitting with some detachments and losses.
As with all paper repair, work starts with surface dry cleaning if the surface is robust, using a brush and vinyl eraser. The pigments are tested for fugivity in water, i.e. to see if they will run. If pigments are found to be fugitive, they can be 'fixed' with chemicals. Then, the original support cloth is carefully removed. In this case, the process took longer than usual because of the fragmentary condition of the cloth.
Chemical stabilisation takes place by immersion first in water and then in an alkaline solution. Our wash bath is large enough for the treatment of most maps; larger maps consist of sections which are treated separately.
After removal from the bath, the map is prepared for mounting on a new support of archival-quality calico with a lining of Japanese paper
The support is then pasted onto a back-lit wall board to allow easy access for repair. The map is then pasted to the support and missing areas are infilled with Japanese paper and weakened areas supported with thin tissue.
With repairs complete, the map is allowed to dry and then removed from the wall board. Excess repair material is trimmed off and the map placed in a polyester sleeve for vertical flat storage; ideal storage for smaller-sized items such as this.