Programme start: 2012

CICRP: Fabien Fohrer

Partnerships(s): Grazia Nicosia, conservator-restorer, National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP) grant; Yohanna Dechezleprêtre, conservator-restorer

This research has been carried out with and at the instigation of Grazia Nicosia, conservator-restorer and CNAP research assistant, in collaboration with the artist Ian Fabre.

This study aims to test the repellent effectiveness of essential oils used alone or in combination on certain insects currently encountered on this type of material (examples: Anthrenus verbasci, Stegobium paniceum, Gibbium psylloides, etc.).

Concurrently, a study on the chemical and physical harmlessness of these substances is being carried out on the materials traditionally used by artists, such as insects, but also bones, feathers, leather, hair and also metals and textiles. The study of these repellents, their mode of action and their user protocols will make it possible to improve the packaging and storage of these works by reducing the risk of insect infestation.


Fohrer F., 2011, ‘Recherche de produits ou molécules de substitution pour la protection des oeuvres patrimoniales’, La lettre de l’OCIM, No. 138, November–December: 21–22.

Programme start: 2008

CICRP: Nicolas Bouillon (director), Fabien Fohrer

Partnership(s): Aurélia Chevalier, doctor of conservation-restoration, Arts et Métiers-Paris Tech

This programme is an offshoot of a larger programme on Stegobium paniceum and focuses on glue-pastes and the risk of insect infestation for traditionally relined paintings. It also encompasses a concurrent entomological study based on infestation test samples of known composition as well as the analysis of glue-pastes by GC-MS in order to correlate their attractiveness according to their chemical composition.

Pictorial layer

Loss of pictorial layer and its original support following a severe infestation

The first conclusions have addressed the type and quantity of flour used as a principal attraction factor and the presence of Venice turpentine as a plasticizer as a possible repelling factor. Physico-chemical analyses are systematically carried out on real samples taken from infested relined paintings restored at the CICRP in order to correlate the degree of infestation of works with the chemical composition of glue-pastes.

This programme also aims to develop a new natural glue-paste formula that is reversible and long-lasting in terms of effectiveness and the risk of insect infestation. This type of adhesive could constitute an alternative to synthetic linings, which can create a number of reversibility as well as compatibility problems with the original materials, and whose degradation processes and their effects are still poorly understood and controlled at present.

Support infestation

Traces of infestation by Stegobium paniceum of a glue-paste relined support


  • Fohrer F., Basle K. and Daniel F., ‘Compréhension et analyse des phénomènes d’infestation et de réinfestation par le Stegobium paniceum des peintures de chevalet rentoilées à la colle de pâte’, Support Tracé, 2006, 6: 78-83.
  • Bouillon N., Fohrer F. and Bonnafoux B., ‘Study of pest infestation of glue paste lined easel paintings : a characterization of traditional glue paste recipes and their relevant Volatile Organic Compounds by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry’, ICOM Committee for Conservation, 15th Triennial Meeting in Delhi, India Preprints, September 2008.
  • Baslé K., Bouillon N., Fohrer F., Guillon O. and May R., ‘Pour une approche raisonnée des problématiques d’infestation en milieu patrimonial : le cas du Stegobium paniceum‘, Techné 2009 , no. 29.