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Scottish Rite patent

bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Howdy, y'all!

I have a new project to do for my local Masonic lodge as a donation (I volunteered - they didn't ask me for this). I'll be reframing this Scottish Rite patent (certificate given when a Mason has gone through the SR degrees). I haven't yet decided what I want to do with it.

See the attached pictures for its present condition. Please excuse the first pic...it's blurry as can be, but I didn't realize it until now.

In a few pictures, you can see that some sort of paste/glue was brushed onto the patent and backing. Over the years, that paste has moved through the paper to give it an orange-brown colored stain. It has also made the paper stiff, but not quite brittle. Yuck. Does anyone know what that might have been?

It was also used on the picture (dated 5/25/54), which popped off of the patent really easily, taking some of the paper with it. :( Since everything is so badly damaged, I may try to release the paper from the back of the picture and reattach it to the patent with a rice paste (unless y'all have a better suggestion). I hate that the original framer did things this way, as it practically destroyed everything. I do want the symbols to be visible, so I'll probably mount the picture in a window underneath the patent.

The patent paper is so badly warped that simply matting it will not keep it flat. If it's not stabilized, it will continue to buckle even worse. Since I don't have access to any sort of vacuum press, I'm tempted to use MountCor just to make it flat and stable. I realize that this won't be reversible, but it's incredibly unlikely that anyone will come along in the future to do any real restoration work on it. The intrinsic value is almost zero; it's only valuable in the symbolic sense. I say all that to set up my question: Would I be screwing up by using MountCor for this?

I'll post pictures once everything is done. I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions on this!
 

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Blackcat

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
If this piece is as warped as you describe, then trying to force it flat by mounting it to mountcor may cause more issues and damage, either through lots of small tight wrinkles in certain areas, by causing the paper to tear in a different area, or both.

I would recommend taking a different approach to this piece: treat it as a historical artifact and embrace all of its quirks as part of its charm and character, and let them tell the story of this particular item's journey through life. I'm not saying don't dress it up a little with a new frame and I do think it needs a mat, I just wouldn't try to force it to be something it's not, in this case: flat or trying to look newly made.

I think you should mount it either by blocking it in or using photo corners and creating a shallow mat riser around the work then mat over it, either way this prevents the warped edges from being forced flat.
 

wpfay

Angry Badger
An attempt at dry mounting is risky. Should there be considerations of conservation in the future you would be adding yet another layer of work for the conservator.
Without thoughts of current conservation, you would be best to try to keep it its current state, with no further degradation. I would also consider making a really good copy and archiving the original. The copy could be cleaned up relatively cheaply in Photoshop compared to restoring the original, and you would help to protect the original.
If you were to frame the original, I would make sure that the paper isn't restricted by the matting and that it have plenty of space from the glazing. Maybe float with elevated mat surrounding it. You might want to consider clear film corners even though they would be visible on close inspection.
Has anyone thought of contacting the parent organization to see if this document can be replaced?
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I agree with all the comments here. The state it's in is what a antique dealer would term "Honest Wear".
It's futile and rather undesirable to try and make it look more 'tidy'. It is as it is.

It does serve to illustrate the long-term effects of indifferent framing though. 😝
 

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Another big fear I would have with trying to mount this artwork is that paper as old as that is probably brittle and any pressing may well cause it to break. The other likely outcome is that if you start mounting and discover things are going wrong you will not be able to reverse the process with this fragile paper.

Unless the owners are prepared to spend some serious money on expert conservation Blackcats's and WPFay,s solutions look like the best way to go.
 

bobtnailer

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Thank y'all so very much for your advice on this piece!

I ended up just using conservation corners, just to avoid further damaging the patent with anything non-reversible. Every frame in our lodge's museum is very simple, so I kept this one quite simple.

I have our Grand Secretary's office trying to dig up some info on this gentleman. If they find anything more than I got from the patent, I can replace the engraved plate really easily. :)
 

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