Making Facsimile Prints & Album

Over the last couple of years CAW has had the pleasure of working with Barbara Wheaton and her family digitising and printing reproductions of a collection of etchings and engravings prior to their donation to a cultural institution. There were many different sizes and styles of prints which were captured using both the Sinar and Hasselblad cameras; we had the opportunity to handle works by such Masters as Albrecht Dürer and Honoré Daumier, to name just two of the artists and craftsmen represented in the collection.

Etching by Albrecht Dürer from the collection of Barbara Wheaton.

The project also provided us with an opportunity to create a number of facsimile albums that can be enjoyed by different members of the family.

The Fabrication of Facsimile Albums

The final stage of the project was the fabrication of five facsimile albums containing ten engravings from the 16th century by the artist Gerhard Groningen representing the ten stages of a man’s life.

The second in the Gronigen’s series on a man’s life.

Once we decided to not to duplicate the effects of time on the cover, the first challenge in this project was selecting materials that reflected the look and quality of the original. Fortunately quality papers are still made and we were able to acquire high quality paper that matched the original from Talas.

The original album showing age and wear.

The album itself consists of ten engravings with interleaving, stab bound and sewn together in stiff grey paper wrappers with marbled paper on the spine. The prints themselves are sewn together and comprise the pages of the album. The whole album was captured, page by page, recto and verso, with the Hasselblad camera and adjustments made in PhotoShop in order replicate the subtle tones of the paper and the detail of the engravings. The facsimiles of the prints themselves were made on a double-sided semi-matte inkjet paper made by Moab from Legion Paper and printed on an Epson Pro Stylus 7800 printer.

The use of inkjet photo paper, necessary for accurate image reproduction, presented a mechanical challenge during the binding process. It is stiff and the surface is prone to cracking and flaking if folded to turn pages. This difficulty was overcome by cutting each of the pages into a page and a spine and re-connecting them, leaving a small gap, with P90 tape on both sides to form a hinge.

Allan Phoenix pasting up the covers.

Each album was then sewn in a similar manner to the original, using the stab binding and sewing pattern found in the album. A Canson Ingres paper was used for the cover was glued over a light archival card stock for stiffness. Unlike the original, whose covers were cut flush to the prints, the facsimile covers were made slightly larger in order to protect the edges of the inkjet paper from abrasion.





Much care was taken to source materials that closely replicated the original and we obtained handmade interleaving papers by Ruscombe Mills and the Restauro Series of Italian hand marbled paper from Talas.

The elegant visual and tactile nature of these papers and the detailed  image reproductions combined to create a group of facsimiles that are both pleasing to the eye and the hand and should confer the grace of time as they age.

The albums side by side.

The original and completed facsimile albums.







(use of the print images courtesy of Barbara Wheaton & family)


About albumenworks

Founded in Chicago in 1976 by Doug Munson and Joel Snyder, CAW moved to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in 1982. The Chicago Albumen Works puts decades of experience to work for some of the finest collections from around the world. A combination of technical expertise and historical perspective, operating in a controlled, conservation environment, directs our solutions to the diverse challenges presented by photograph collections. At CAW, the synergy of technical understanding, a conservator’s approach, an artist’s eye and a historian’s perspective creates a unique, productive, and collegial environment.
This entry was posted in Album facsimile, Book binding, Collection Services, Digital Imaging, Digital Printing, Fine Art Reproduction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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