Re: How to store zinc and copper etching plates?


Amazing, I’ve just written a rather substantial report for my internship placement recently, and also a rehousing proposal on this exact subject.

The research I did indicated that from a Conservation/Preservation perspective, it is best to store metal plates flat.
Most libraries and archives (as well as professional artists) I interviewed already do so.
The reasons are many, but the main motivation is the ductility of the metal (which is at greater risk of damage while supporting it’s own weight in a vertical position).

It’s likely you would want to maintain the readable surface of the printing plates, and that means mitigating risk factors for corrosion, a low RH is helpful, along with keeping the plates free of dust. Enclosures are a great idea. (If you have the budget and time it’s great that you could put images of prints on the enclosures!)

As a Conservator, I would highly recommend separating the zinc from the copper plates, as the two metals together are somewhat conductive to corrosion, and can increase risk of corrosion particularly for the zinc plates. (Zinc being a less noble element, it will become a sacrificial metal).

I’d love to be more helpful if I can. I’m new to the forum, and hope I haven’t overstepped my bounds with any of my eagerness and information.

Best Regards,
Shannon Jill Bray