DID you ever hear the story …


of the old street lamp by Hans Christian Andersen? There is one place in University of Glasgow Campus that you are simply obligated to see. A place where street lamps takes its place. It was a most respectable old lamp, which had seen many, many years of service. The lamps very well remembered Lord Kelvin who developed the scale of measuring temperature that we use in photography today. Image

From my conservators point of view all light contributes to the deterioration of paper documents but some artist love created light-emitting sculptures in the landscape using a light.


My paper object many times had irreversible light damage. We require light to see documents however we must be careful to monitor the use and level of light in order to minimize permanent damage to material.


Light, by definition, is the band of radiation to which our eye is sensitive. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) and infrared radiation (IR) are not visible. Ultraviolet and infrared are not necessary for seeing (except in rare cases of UV fluorescent colour) . The yellowing and disintegration of paper material by UV light is largely due to uncontrolled environmental conditions therefore, careful monitoring is required to avoid damage to documents. UV light causes yellowing, chalking, weakening, and/or disintegration of material and UV content should be removed, either by choosing low UV or free light sources or by blocking the UV content by the use of light filters.

It’s a seeming paradox artists use the light to create their extraordinary art work, conservators try to protect art work from light.



About conservationwithella

Hello, I'm Ella, Art on Paper Conservator & Preservation Manager at Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. This blog is a walk through my daily life, work, arts & crafts history, my discovery that everything in my life is enough to be a continuous source of reflection. I started blogging to entertain myself but I hope you enjoy it too. I'm sure you agree, that Life without art is nothing. :)

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