Hans Holbein, Portrait of a Young Man
Portrait of a Young Man,
before treatment, raking light from top


This drawing is from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Examination
of the drawing revealed that the support, multiple sheets of paper glued
together, a technique typical of Holbein, was pulling away from the mount
at its lower edge. Red chalk, apparently from another drawing, was visible
on the lower edge of the verso in the released area. The action of the lifting
support was tearing the drawing on the verso into fragments as portions
remained adhered to the mount.

The mount was incised along the edges of the drawing. The drawing and
the attached portion of the mount were released. The drawing was placed
face down and the mount remnant was thinned using a scalpel. The mount
remnants were released using agar poultices to soften the adhesive. The
fragments of the exposed drawing remnants were reattached using wheat
starch paste.

The drawing on the lower edge of the verso proved to be the cap of
St. James with a cockle shell (his attribute) attached. A new core was

created for the mount using four ply museum board. Mulberry paper strips
were attached to the right, top and left edges of the verso of the drawing.
The drawing was attached to the new core and the core was secured into
the frame of the original mount. A window cut into the new core, glazed
with Mylar, offers visual access to the drawing on the verso.

Portrait of a Young Man,
after treatment
Portrait of a Young Man,
during treatment







Photo Credits: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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Copyright 2008 by Mark Stevenson Paper Conservation. All rights reserved.  Revised: 08/23/08 01:59:29 -0400.