The Conservation of Fur, Feather and Skin

Margot M. Wright

From prehistoric times, man has made use of skin, feather and fur in many diverse ways. Techniques were developed to prevent skins from putrefying thus prolonging their 'sell by' date. In cold climes, fur and feathers provided warmth, whereas in warm climes, brightly coloured feathers have been used as decorative elements in artefacts, particularly in clothing. Some of the methods used to decorate such artefacts required a great deal of skill and it is interesting to consider how they developed.

The papers presented in The Conservation of Fur, Feather and Skin describe methods of tanning ethnographic leather, preparation and conservation of clothing and artefacts, types of damage that may be encountered, methods of identifying the causes of the damage, the fading of feathers caused by light, and conservation techniques employed to prolong the lives of artefacts. Dirt removal techniques such as laser cleaning of parchment and feathers are compared with conventional methods.


Plains Indian shirts, Inuit clothing and artefacts, and a Torres Strait turtleshell mask are discussed as well as the preparation and presentation of the exhibition Stolen Skins? which stimulates the consideration of many controversial issues.

ISBN 1873132182
Binding Paperback
Dimensions 234 x 156mm
Pages 102
Illustrations 24 halftone
Published August 2002
Price £25.00