Our conservators at work: restoring the Hall and Dods Collection

Last year the State Library of Queensland acquired 297 architectural drawing as part of Hall and Dods Collection. The architectural drawings are dated from 1898 to 1984. The architectural drawings are a mixture of building projects, competition designs and tenders prepared by the company for commercial buildings, hospitals, public building, churches and private residence.

The drawings are executed on different substrates like paper which range from thick wove to fine tracing papers to heavily starched linen fabric. The media used for the drawing are pencils, iron gall ink, water colours and printing ink.

On arrival at State Library, the collection had to go through quarantine where every item was checked for any mould or pest activity. This is part of the Integrated Pest Management program.

When the collection came to the Conservation lab they were all rolled in tubes either individuals or in batches. Due to previous poor storage conditions, there was heavy dirt and grime present on the works along with major tears. In some works, repairs had been carried out with different types of pressure sensitive tapes. Many of the plans were brittle, discoloured, creased, and stained.

The collection was divided into minor and major treatment categories. Minor treatment required surface cleaning, humidification, flattening and minor repairs where as major treatment involved complex repairs of major tears, infilling of large losses, washing and lining.

After treatment, the objects are digitised by the State Library’s Image Production Unit and the images made available online. After digitisation the objects are encapsulated in polyester sleeves and housed in the climate controlled repository.

Twenty objects were treated, mounted and framed for the exhibition “Art in Architecture” which opened to the public on 15 April 2011 and closed 13 June. 

You can have a look at some of these completed works online.

Before conservation treatment               After conservation treatment

       Before conversation treatment - Plan of the United Insurance Company, Brisbane Office, details of counter. 1912 (State Library of Queensland, Acc. No. 27671/69)                                     After conversation treatment - Plan of the United Insurance Company, Brisbane Office, details of counter. 1912 (State Library of Queensland, Acc. No. 27671/69)

Lydia Egunnike, Collection Preservation – State Library of Queensland