The Palazzo Thiene and the Villa Thiene

Conservation condition: sheet XIV/4

Villa Thiene

XIV/4, Andrea Palladio (c.1545-6)
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings Collection

Date of the drawing: circa 1540

Laid lines: 34mm apart

Watermarks: no visible watermark

Weight of paper: heavy

Conservation condition of drawing: fair; heavy folds, edge tears, abraded areas, surface and embedded dirt, previous repairs

Palladio folded the paper in order to make it easier to sketch freehand in situ. This poses ethical problems for the conservator as it was the artist's intention to make folds within the sheet and therefore any treatment has to be carefully considered.

The photograph clearly shows that the sheet has been folded, three folds running horizontally across the sheet and one running vertically through the centre of the sheet. The sheet has losses both along the right- and left-hand edges and has previously been repaired. The right-hand edge has previously been pasted to another sheet or into a volume.

The folds have caused weakness within the sheet and a build-up of ingrained dirt has occurred where the paper has torn. Paper tears more readily along the grain direction than across the grain.

Paper is stronger and stiffer across the grain and folds more readily parallel with the grain direction.

Along the folds the fibres have weakened and become more fibrous. This makes the paper in these areas more susceptible to tearing, lessens the mechanical resistance and can generate a total physical loss.

The folds have caused damage to the paper's fibres and therefore increased the possibility of abrasions and rubbings occurring to the surface. The abrasions have led to minor ink losses.