Weighted silk: history, analysis and conservation

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Hacke, Marei;


Reviews in Conservation, Volume 9, p.3-15 (2008)


Historic textile, and especially costume, collections often contain weighted silks. The fabrics are generally in poor condition as a result of the weighting agents that were added, and conservation treatments are often difficult. The wide variety of silk weighting methods that have developed since the latter part of the nineteenth century has led to the state of deterioration of the textiles that have survived being equally diverse. To date there are no standard conservation treatments for weighted silks, although various chemical and physical methods have been tested. The problem of fastdecaying silks has stimulated research within the silk industry since the late 1800s. This review focuses on information relating to the history, identification, degradation and stabilisation of Western weighted silks found in the English and German literature from the 1870s onwards.