Versão em português
N.º 35
pp. 45-57


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Considerations about foxing stains in three paper collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century

Francisca Figueira1,*, Marta Matos1,2, Aida Nunes3, Marina Afonso4, Ana Clara Rocha4, Joana Campelo1, Teresa Ferreira5,6 

1 Laboratório José de Figueiredo, Direção Geral do Património Cultural, Rua das Janelas Verdes, 1249-018 Lisboa, Portugal

2 Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT), Quinta do Contador, Estrada da Serra, 2300-313 Tomar, Portugal

3 Museu de Lisboa, Núcleo de Conservação e Restauro, Campo Grande, 382, 1700-097 Lisboa, Portugal

4 SalvArte, Atelier de Conservação e Restauro, Praça das Amoreiras 8, R/C, 1250-020 Lisboa, Portugal

5 HERCULES Laboratory, University of Évora, Largo Marquês de Marialva, 8, 7000-809 Évora, Portugal

6 Chemistry Department at the Science and Technology School, University of Évora, Rua Romão Ramalho, 59, 7000-671, Évora, Portugal



Three surveys on the occurrence of foxing stains were carried out on papers dating from 1560 to 1975 in three Portuguese collections. Foxed papers were found to be more intensely and intrusively stained in certain time periods of each collection. Based on historical data and on the professional paper conservation experience, the authors linked the increased occurrence of foxing stains in certain time periods to the new papermaking processes and materials, which began to be introduced in the late 18th century, and in particular to a synergistic effect between three factors: the use of deficient gelatine sizing which began to present a poorer quality and homogeneity, the presence of iron-containing impurities throughout the paper leaf and a distinct sorbency of moisture. Observing batches of morphologically similar papers by using photographic imaging with different types of light sources and incidences, the authors verified that similar papers present similar foxing stains.


Foxing stains
Conservation surveys
MNAA museum
MBP museum
BNP library







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Figueira, F., Matos, M., Nunes, A., Afonso, M., Rocha, A.C., Campelo, J., Ferreira, T., 'Considerations about foxing stains in three paper collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century', Conservar Património 35 (2020) 45-57,

Figueira, F., Matos, M., Nunes, A., Afonso, M., Rocha, A.C., Campelo, J., Ferreira, T. (2020). Considerations about foxing stains in three paper collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century. Conservar Património, 35 45-57. DOI:10.14568/cp2019022.

Figueira, Francisca, Matos, Marta, Nunes, Aida, Afonso, Marina, Rocha, Ana Clara, Campelo, Joana, Ferreira, Teresa. 2020. "Considerations about foxing stains in three paper collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century." Conservar Património 35:45-57. doi:10.14568/cp2019022.

FIGUEIRA, Francisca, MATOS, Marta, NUNES, Aida, AFONSO, Marina, ROCHA, Ana Clara, CAMPELO, Joana, FERREIRA, Teresa – Considerations about foxing stains in three paper collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century. Conservar Património. [Em linha]. 35 (2020) 45-57 [Consult. ]. Disponível em WWW: <URL:>. ISSN 21829942.

FIGUEIRA, Francisca, MATOS, Marta, NUNES, Aida, AFONSO, Marina, ROCHA, Ana Clara, CAMPELO, Joana, FERREIRA, Teresa. Considerations about foxing stains in three paper collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th century. Conservar Património, Lisboa, v. 35, p. 45-57, 2020. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: .


Received: 2019-7-20
Revised: 2019-11-19
Accepted: 2019-11-27
Online: 2020-5-4


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