22 September, 2022

Training course in conservation and restoration of paper: Manuscripts and miniature paintings

The three-month training course in the conservation and restoration of paper, focussing on manuscripts and miniature paintings, supported by Tata Trusts under its Art Conservation Initiative, came to a successful end in the month of September’2022 at the Kolkata Institute of Art Conservation.

During the course five participants trained in the best practices of paper conservation, focussing on handling paper based manuscripts and miniature paintings. Paper is an ancient and versatile material, with manuscripts and paintings on paper being one of the most prolific ways of recording history and events. The grandeur and beauty of manuscripts and miniature paintings lies not only in the skill of the calligrapher or painter but also the inks and pigments used in their renditions. Objects were sourced from around the country, to inform the participants of the rich history and style of regional manuscripts and miniature paintings, each differing in its execution and the damages that plague them, and therefore its conservation. The course was helmed by senior paper conservator Mr Lalit Pathak, along with visiting faculty called in for specific sessions. A full time course anchor was present on site at the lab to supervise the participants during their practical work, as well as coordinate the implementation of the course.

The participants were taught to document, clean, handle and repair damaged folios and miniature paintings, as well as how to restore and house them appropriately. Week-long sessions on the different kinds of binding, mounting and framing were also a part of the curriculum. Upon completion of the course, the five participants will now embark on one-month long internships to hone and apply the skills learnt during the course.

Here are some glimpses of the training course in action.