antique linen with water stains


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Old 05-19-07, 11:12 PM
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antique linen with water stains

I'm afraid to leave this with just any dry cleaner, and can't afford an archivist.
I am not certain, I believe it's either fine linen or silk. whichever it is it's finewoven, and looks like it might be raw as it has some clumping in the weave. there's no date, but I believe it was made in 1830. reference is made to the income of 1829. it was my great, great grandfather's.
It is a large white wall hanging which has a black ink print of the intended new parliament building and "England at a Glance" with a condenced gazeteer of all the counties of England and Wales on it.
there's alot of water stain to it, probably happened when his youngest son, my great grandfather's house caught on fire-so some of the darker spots may be soot stains.
how can I remove the brownish water stains and the dark brown soot(?) stains from this item?
 
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Old 05-20-07, 08:32 AM
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This piece of fabric has historical significance. Its condition, of course, has lessened its antique value. Dry cleaning will not remove the water stains and may remove the 'ink' as many inks and dyes of that era were vegetable-based.

DIY cleaning will likely be less than satisfactory and may damage the fabric. Bleaches weaken fragile fabrics and may remove the 'ink' patterns. Today's detergents contain bleaches, enzymes, and optical brighteners that will damage the fabric. Just plain soap may be too alkaline.

While you say you can not afford an archivist or conservator, it is best to consult with one because they are skilled to use cleaning methods that offer the least intervention and provide you with a quote. Cleaning is risky and should be done by a professional textile conservator.
 
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Old 05-20-07, 09:35 AM
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I would definintely NOT take it to a dry cleaner's or attempt washing it, either. It would most likely just fall apart
Also the stains have been on too long to be able to just spot clean with something around the house and again you risk the fibers falling apart.
I think you have no choice but to take it to a professional that restores old linens and artwork, etc. You may want to have it appraised to see if it's worth the money.
 
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Old 05-20-07, 12:14 PM
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antique linen with water stains

thank you, shadeladie and twelvepole.
I will follow your suggestions.
one thing, the fabric's in wonderful condition. it's gone from one family to another until it reached me, so I don't know how it was stored or cared for over the years, but it's strong and solid. just amazing for it's age. but I agree, archival cleaning is best. don't think there's one in my area, so I'll look around the big cities.
 
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Old 05-20-07, 02:33 PM
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If you have an art museum or history museum in your area, they may be able to refer you to a conservator.
 
 

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