Thaw Conservation Center's blog

Preserving and Revealing the Museum’s Treasures

The Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan is a world-class laboratory for the conservation of works on paper and parchment—drawings, prints, photographs, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, fine bindings, and literary, historical, and music manuscripts—as well as a place for conservation studies. A critical piece of the Morgan, the Thaw Conservation Center also relies on donations from the public to remain on the cutting edge of scientific research and discovery. 

Conference Presentations

Conservators working in the Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan Library & Museum undertake technical research projects relating to the objects they are treating for the Morgan's robust exhibition and loan program, for digitization, and for scholarly access in the Reading Room.

Technical Analysis of The Crusader Bible

To enhance our understanding of the Crusader Bible, the Thaw Conservation Center performed non-destructive analysis including X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and digital imaging techniques to characterize the pigments in folios believed to be executed by different illuminators. This post will introduce the analytical methods used and the fascinating information that the data revealed about the Crusader Bible.

Jean-Joseph Chamant: The Lost Sketchbook

Take a peek inside a rare and fascinating 18th-century artist's sketchbook of theater designs, recently discovered at NYU's Villa La Pietra, in Florence, Italy. This video highlights the little-known history of an itinerant French artist, Joseph Chamant, as revealed through a collaborative material examination and conservation treatment of his sketchbook.

From Drawing to Print: Abraham Bloemaert's Danaë Receiving the Golden Rain

Until the nineteenth century it was common for works of art to be disseminated in the form of prints. But how was an artist's work transferred from paper to printing plate? In this post, we take a close look at a seventeenth-century drawing by the Dutch painter, draftsman, and printmaker Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) and the engraving derived from it.

Edgar Degas

In the early 1890s, when Degas' work became increasingly less naturalistic, he produced a series of pure landscapes that freely interpret the scenery he encountered on his way to visit the painter and printmaker Pierre-Georges Jeanniot in the village of Diénay, near Dijon. There Degas produced about fifty monotypes, which he enhanced with vivid pastel work.

Ingres at the Morgan: Materials and Methods

Whether he was making portraits of family and friends or preliminary studies for important history paintings, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) created drawings of great subtlety and nuance. Close examination of the paper and media allows us to glimpse the working methods of one of the greatest draftsmen and portraitists in French history.

Dürer and the Woodcut

The woodcut, one of the earliest printmaking techniques, became popular in Europe around 1400. Woodcuts are produced by carving an image into a block of wood, usually a hard fruitwood, cut parallel to its grain. Only the lines and shapes of the drawn design are left standing in relief; all other areas of the wood are carefully excised with sharp woodworking tools, such as gouges, chisels, and knives.