F – Glossary Terms


Usually caused by exposure to light. Most obvious when edges of pictures have preserved the original colour due to protection by top mount and exposed areas have faded.

Fatty exudations:

White waxy surface deposit found on skins/leather usually associated with movement of fats coming out of the material often resulting in changes in environment.


A material used where an objects has lost material. This is either for aesthetic reasons or to stabilise the whole. An inert / conservation grade material which is reversible will always be used.


Material replacing where the original is missing or a loss. Fills may be coloured and textured to blend in with the original surface. Old fills may become unstable as old repair materials deteriorate and weaken. Fills/painted areas may start to shrink with cracks appearing along their edges. New fills should be regarded as potential areas of weakness during handling and vulnerable to impact damage.


The impression of fingerprints left on an object, sometimes contributing to staining of the surface.

Firing crack (Ceramics/ Glass):

Caused during the manufacture of an object. They are usually stable but are possible areas of weakness especially if wide or extensive.


Small, thin pieces of varnish, paint or other layers that have become completely detached from the main support material, due to extreme cracking.


An unstable condition in which areas of the original material become detached from the main part. Other words – laminating, lifting.


Loss of paint layer or surface through loose or detaching small islands of paint or surface coating.


An object, or a portion of an object, that has been bent or pressed so that one part is over another.

Fold lines:

Regular sharp straight ridge or groove usually arising from material being folded for long periods of time, usually associated with textiles or large flat and flexible materials such as skins, barkcloth, and plant fibre.

Fourier-transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR):

This is an analytical tool allowing scientists and conservators to determine which molecular structures are present in a material. From this information they can often determine which material was used to construct an object. FTIR is most often used in the analysis and identification of organic compounds such as resins, starches and proteins, all of which are used in the construction of ethnographic objects.


Physically delicate, easily broken, damaged or harmed.

Fragmentary (CGM, Stone):

Where part of an object is in many small pieces that are completely separated.

Fragmentary (Organics):

Extensive damage has occurred leading to the object or material being in many small pieces, either completely separated or partially connected. Also used to describe textiles where there is extensive loss, sometime irregular shaped islands of textile remaining loosely connected following insect infestation.


Wearing away and/or unravelling of fabric, leaving loose threads.

Fraying (Paper):

Appearance of loose threads and unraveling of threads within silk mounts etc.