Handwriting: When these documents were made, people studied handwriting in France. It was a considered as an art form. So the size of the text, and quality of the handwriting varies depending
upon the document.
The color of the ink used: Varies from light brown to dark black.
The color of the paper: Varies from blue to yellow to brown.
Watermarks: Typically included within the paper itself, after around 1860.
Stains: Paper is sometimes darkened in places. This adds to its overall effect.
The texture of the paper: Paper before 1800 has a rougher texture.
"Revenue seals": These are actually an ink stamp, added by the French government to represent it's official purpose (as opposed to a common letter). These revenue seals are often only
included on the first page of a multipage document. For documents before around 1800, there is often a stamp at the top which represents the region where the paper originated.
Creases and folds: Maintained to add to the overall aesthetic effect.
Size: The size of each sheet of paper varies, and in many cases I have modified the size to fit within the dimensions of the collage.
Cut: Paper created before around 1800 was not made with standard edges. I have tried to maintain this as much as possible, putting these pieces along the outward edge of the overall collage.
Meaning of the text: Although this is not a consideration in terms of the aesthetics of how I put the documents together, it is worth mentioning. Also, it is interesting to note that most
French people cannot understand the French text before 1800.
As far as I am aware, the pages within these collages are made from 100% cotton fiber (non pulp paper).
The pages of the collage are juxtaposed to maximize the aesthetic appeal, based upon the elements mentioned above (handwriting, paper color, watermarks, texture, creases and folds, etc.)
These collages are non-permanently attached to a wooden frame (using magnets) and are illuminated with small incandescent lights (Christmas lights), to highlight the beauty, color, and
variations between the individual sheets of paper.
The pages of the collage are attached together using an acid free tape on the back, which is not visible when viewing the collage from the front.