Red rot

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Red rot


An irreversible deterioration that occurs in vegetable tanned leathers. Red rot produces a powdery red surface accompanied by cracking, delamination and loss of strength. The deteriorated leather exhibits a low pH and low hydrothermal stability. It is thought to be due to nontannin plant residues. Red rot is accelerated by light, ultraviolet radiation, an acidic environment, and sulfur dioxide pollutants.

A post in the Conservation DISTLIST, on July 3, 2019, indicated that the Leather Conservation Centre (Northampton, UK) has developed a treatment for red rot.

Synonyms and Related Terms

leather degradation; pudrición roja (Esp.); úlcera vermelha (Port.); ulcera vermelha (Port.)

Red rot

Additional Information

C.Calnan, "Leather" The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries, Inc. New York, vol.19, p.6, 1996.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Caring for your Collections, Arthur W Schulz (ed.), Harry N. Abrams, Inc. , New York, 1992
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982