Conservation experts at the National Library of Scotland have managed to save a rare antique map, which was discovered stuffed up a chimney during the renovation of a house.
The map dates back to the 17th century and was destined to be thrown into a skip until it was realised that it wasn’t rubbish. The map had been used as a draught excluder at the house in Aberdeen, and had been attacked by insects and vermin, while also being covered in filth.
The map measures 7 x 5ft and was produced by Gerald Valck, a Dutch engraver. Experts believe that there are just two other copies. When the map was at its prime, it would have been hung from a wall for the benefit of visitors. When the map was initially taken to the Edinburgh-based library, it was in a plastic bag and resembled a “bundle of rags”.
According to Dr John Scally, a national librarian, the map was extremely delicate, and bits fell off it each time it was moved. Scally added that the task of renovating the map had been one of the toughest challenges presented to the conservation team at the library.
Although some sections of the map could not be saved, the remainder is now stabilised and has been cleaned so that it can provide future enjoyment. Renovation is a specialised skill and it is crucial that items like antique sofas and other furniture, are taken to a reputable antiques dealer to avoid further damage.
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