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Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper

Supported by an IMLS 21st Century Museum Professionals Grant


The guidelines presented in this e-publication address the need for more accurate and consistent documentation of the materials and techniques used to create works of art on paper, and are designed to provide museum professionals charged with describing prints and drawings with a step by step approach to describing all aspects of their manufacture. No detailed guide for this has previously existed.

Conservators, curators and other users bring different types of knowledge and connoisseurship to the task, and the publication also aims to guide those with less experience or without direct access to the physical artworks in recording information that is accurate regardless of level of detail. Another goal is to facilitate recording materials information in museum collections databases – a primary source for collections information on the web.

We hope that the impact of Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper will be to:
  1. Provide a comprehensive resource for professionals in the fine arts
  2. Enhance the ability of conservators to communicate their knowledge about the material aspects of works of art on paper
  3. Contribute to the education and visual experience of the online and museum visitor

Guidelines project staff/authorship

Nancy Ash, The Charles K. Williams, II, Senior Conservator of Works of Art on Paper
Scott Homolka, Associate Conservator of Works of Art on Paper
Stephanie Lussier, Project Conservator
Becca Pollak, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation
Eliza Spaulding, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation (2010-2013)
Reneé Wolcott, Editor

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