Skip over navigation | Sla menu over

Leather and Related Materials Working Group
Triennial Programme 2014-2017


Working Group Activities and Projects 2014–2017:


  • The newsletter will enable the members of the Leather & Related Materials Working Group to inform their colleagues about their research, special projects, and recent developments in conservation. Members are encouraged to inform the others about new publication, courses, collections, etc. We aim at publishing one newsletter per year and members are invited to assist in providing content for this publication.

Archival Issues and Publications:

  • The dissemination of interim meeting publications via the web will be useful to our members. The WG will continue the work initiated by the previous Coordinator and make all interim meeting publications since 1986 web-accessible. In the same manner and for the same reason, henceforth our goal is to publish on the web our interim meeting postprints within five months following the meeting.

 Interim Meeting:

  • The Leather and Related Materials Working Group aims to organize one interim meeting during the next triennial period. Following a request from the membership, the next one will be focusing on leather and parchment objects and research. The intention is to bring together archaeological, ethnographical, artistic ( gilt leather), library, manuscripts and archival conservators and scientists. The Leather & Related Materials Working Group will establish a close collaboration with the Graphic Documents Group, both covering parchment conservation and research.

 ICOM-CC Triennial Conference 2017:

  • The next Triennial Conference will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. We would encourage the submission of papers on traditional techniques of tanning leather, preparing parchment and velum, as well as new analytical approach for the characterization of the materials and their degradation. Case studies of novel conservation treatments or approaches designed or tailored to the objects, collections or museum environments would also be most welcome.
  • The Leather & Related Materials Working Group will encourage the members contribute papers that will address to the conference theme for the next triennial meeting in Copenhagen 2017.

 History Project:

  • The Leather & Related Materials Working Group will contribute to writing the history of the Working Group including biographies of the scholars and conservators active in the Working Group since its inception.

Specific themes of research /investigations:

Members of the Leather & Related Materials Working Group are encouraged to carry out scientific research that contributes to the conservation, the study and the exhibition of leather and parchment objects of all kinds (collagenous material). The Leather & Related Materials Working Group will foster cooperation between institutions or individuals working with any of the listed research issues by promoting and facilitating liaison and communications, and by assisting in the exchange and dissemination of information. We are particularly interested in research and conservation projects focusing on:

  • Leather, skin and parchment conservation materials and methodologies

The development, improvement and assessment of good quality conservation mending and backing materials is a very important topic as the problems of tears on leather and parchment objects is very common. Also loss compensation techniques should be explored. We plan to focus on research about the positive and negative influences of different conservation treatments on the ageing process of historic leather and parchment and related materials. In practice a lot of damage has been caused by unsuitable methods, but little is found about experiences on long term results of these treatments or choice of specific materials. Another issue is the different regional traditions concerning the favored use of natural or synthetic products, affected also by different ethical opinions. An open discussion and an exchange of information on these aspects will help to further improve the preservation of our cultural heritages.

  • Leather, skin and parchment research

The Leather & Related Materials Working Group will support the development of new analytical approaches for the characterization of leather, skin and parchment, in particular non-invasive techniques to gain information on the technologies and degradation. One of the aims of the WG is to create bibliographies on specific aspects as leather, rawhide skin, and parchment deterioration.

  • Leather, skin and parchment technologies

Further study on the history and original technologies of leather artifacts of historic and artistic value from different countries would be beneficial, based both on scientific investigation and analysis of archival documents, technical sources and literature.
Today the original production of leather and parchment objects and artifacts has been partially lost together with the knowledge of ancient production technologies. A survey of what exists, as well as systematic archival research and the publication of findings would be useful and essential means of writing a history of the techniques from different countries and would provide a valuable contribution to a broader global history to this topic. In particular, for the gilt leather techniques, we will discuss with our membership the establishment of an electronic database to record and classify the different types of punches used.

  • Preventive conservation supporting collections with leather, skin and parchment items

The Leather & Related Materials Working Group aims to develop strategies, guidelines on environmental conditions for leather, skin and related materials in museums, churches, libraries, archives and historic houses in respect for the environmental conditions developed around the IIC/ICOM CC document in 2014. The connection with other materials in the same environment will be explores. Research and preventive conservation projects on the issue of low energy storage and display will be fostered.


Share this page