Conservation case study: set of drawing instruments

This early 18th-century set of silver drawing instruments is housed in a small blue case made of leather, silver and wood. The instruments consist of a series of foldable rulers, various drawing ‘pens’ with interchangeable parts and a pair of dividers. There are three missing instruments. The lid is hinged and the interior is lined with engraved silver. It closes with a small button clasp. The set is just under 10cm long, 6cm wide and 2cm deep.

Inventory number: 36524

The leather on one side of the case was extremely dirty and there were small losses to the leather on the back edge of the case. The silver mounts were tarnished and had congealed dirt in the crevices.

Various cleaning materials were tested on both the leather and the silver prior to conservation. Once the area had been swabbed with de-ionised water and dried, a light coat of microcrystalline wax was applied with a cotton wool swab, and then buffed with a soft cloth.

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