The first in our new series of Conservation Newsletters is out now. No. 1, Spring 2020
Lord Chesterfield’s Letters (Dublin, 1776) is a fairly typical 18th century in-board binding, sewn on five raised cord supports, and fully-covered in smooth, sprinkled, brown calf over boards. As is common of books of this period from the British Isles it has thin degraded leather, brittle animal glue on the backs of the sections, and no
Stationery bindings come in all shapes and sizes and from many different periods: This latest addition to our collection is a striking example in green vellum, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century. Discovered not far from us in an antiques shop in Herefordshire, this inexpensive little volume (H:187 W:123mm) has a fantastic local connection as
Holinshed’s Chronicles is a 16th Century history of England, Scotland and Ireland; probably best known for its links to William Shakespeare’s history plays, for which it is said to have been a significant resource. It is a large folio of over 1500 pages and this copy was bound between wooden boards covered in calf leather.
Whilst browsing the shelves of a local charity shop in Worcester, we recently came across this modest copy of Arthur Ransome’s The Picts and the Martyrs  printed in Oxford at the Alden Pressand bound by A. W. Bain & Co. Ltd. What drew us to the book was not its faded green cloth exterior, brightly
Some observations about indigo… I was recently sent a fascinating image (see below) of an endband by a colleague who noted areas of un-dyed thread which he suspected was symptomatic of the hand-dying process used for indigo. This effect is certainly something I’ve observed when dying myself: the thread is dyed in skeins and the
Here is a little box I made based on a simple archival four-flap, or phase box. I wanted to create something more elegant than a standard box, and without the fuss of cotton fore-edge ties. It was made with just a few hand tools and requires minimal gluing; I am quite pleased with the results!
Endbands are an aspect of bookbinding that has interested me from the outset. Like many, my first attempts were decorative endbands in colourful silks; but during my time working as a professional book conservator in Oxford I became much more interested in the laced-in structural endbands found on medieval bindings. More recently I have experimented
I just bought this beautiful antique plough. Sadly I don’t have any information about it’s provenance; however, it’s almost identical to the one featured in Zaehnsdorf’s ‘The Art of Bookbinding’, it even has the same teardrop shaped brass plate under the wing-nut. The blade of the plough has an ‘N. J. Hill London’ makers-mark engraved
Over two days at Arthur’s studio in the Malvern Hills, five students learned to make a pulp board binding based on a design common in Oxford in the early 17th century. This transitional structure marks the movement from parchment to paper leaves and from wooden to paper/pulp boards. Common features of the structure are stub