The Holy Bible – Project

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The Holy Bible
c. 1952
Full case binding, hollow-back, plain burgundy book cloth with blind-tooled border
University Press, Cambridge (Brooke Crutchley, University Printer)
140x198x39 (WHD)

I completed this volume some months back for an lady who was keen to preserve the book before it fell apart completely. As with so many books owned by individuals, the monetary value of this book was minimal, but the sentimental value was priceless. It is a classic Holy Bible, given to the owner as a child by her Grandmother, and has been loved and treasured ever since. As is often the case with books of such high sentimental value, the volume had deteriorated from such regular use. I greatly enjoy working on these types of books, despite their lack of social status in the book world, as there is little thanks in the conservation world that will match that given by someone whose treasured book has been carefully conserved and given new life for years to come.

CONDITION

BINDING Both boards were attached to the case and the spine was in tact. The shoulders at head and tail were worn, as was the tail at the spine edge. All the corners had minor ware, more so at the head. The case was detached from the textblock at front and at back after the end papers and map. The mull was exposed, worn down and deteriorating, though the tapes were still in tact.

TEXTBLOCK Page 543 was loose. Front end papers, first plate and title page were loose and attached by tape. The front endpaper was heavily damage both by detachment and from tape damage, corner is missing and replaced by tape. The following page also had a missing corner replaced with tape that was discoloured and stained. The title page was detached and stuck together with tape, which discoloured and stained the page. The first page of text was stained by offset tape residue from the title page. The final map and adjacent pages had tape residue damage, both discolouration and staining. They were also slightly detached from textblock, though remained attached to the boards. The tape damage, in all cases, was covering tears to the paper.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION A green paper cover had been adhered together using tape, which was discoloured and stained. The head and tail spine edges of this cover were also worn and damaged.

TREATMENT

  • Boards were removed, whilst keeping sewing tapes intact.
  • Front and back paste-downs were removed.
  • Paper repairs were made to loose pages, including infills to those with missing areas and reattachment where necessary by tipping.
  • Self adhesive tapes were removed and staining was reduced using a calcium hypochlorite bath, followed by washing to reduce the acidity.
  • The spine was re-lined and reinforced using an aero-cotton transverse lining.
  • The volume was then rebound using the original cover and the paste-downs were replaced using a sympathetic paper.
  • Hinges were inserted into the inside covers where necessary and the cover, spine and corners were consolidated.
  • Finally the paper cover was repaired and rehoused in melinex.

Penrhyn Archive Jamaican Estate Slave Accounts

Penrhyn Archive Jamaican Estate Slave Accounts

Penrhyn Archive Jamaican Estate Slave Accounts, Bangor University Archives
c.18th Century
Single section pamphlets of handmade paper, stab-sewn through a plain or marble-paper cover
Project for National Conservation Service
Report written by Mary Garner

DECONTAMINATION, CONSERVATION & DIGITISATION

The items treated in this project come from the Penrhyn Estate archive, deposited at the Bangor University Archives in North Wales. The project included a series of 32 paper account pamphlets from Jamaican estates. The accounts include names, roles and other details of slaves working on the estates and as such are of considerable significance historically and for their descendants researching their family histories. They are striking and disturbing documents, with slaves ‘accounted’ for as resources; for example death is referred to as a ‘decrease in slaves’ and birth as an ‘increase in slaves’.

The items have suffered from extensive water damage and damp, causing excessive mould growth, fading, weakness and discolouration. The project aim was to decontaminate and stabilise the collection and to digitise the account papers. The programme of digitisation was carried out after cleaning but prior to conservation treatments. This enabled capture of the documents in their found state and so that any repairs did not interfere with legibility of the text. Digitisation would also minimise unnecessary handling of items in the future, which while strengthened would remain vulnerable.

The main issues within this project were the presence of fugitive iron gall inks and mould damage. Iron gall ink is prone to fading and deterioration due to instability inherent in the ink composition and the varying recipes it has been historically made with. Since 2004 Mould has been classed as a Category 1 risk to health as assessed under the Health and Safety Hazards Rating System (HHSRS) – the same class as asbestos for example. The HHSRS risk assessment has been legislation in England & Wales since 2006, under the Health & Safety Act. The material in this collection had considerable mould infection and presented a definable risk to staff and users. For this reason it was vitally important to remove mould growth and endeavour to denature the spores remaining in the paper. Mould damage and bacteria cause heavy darkening and discolouration which renders documents illegible over time, in some cases causing a problem with digitisation.

The items comprised single section pamphlets of handmade paper, stab-sewn through a plain or marble-paper cover. The paper had become very fibrous and fragile and easily prone to further damage from handling. Many had large areas of loss and some pages had become stuck together. The sewing structures had disintegrated and in some cases no longer held folios into signatures.

Cleaning was carried out with soft brushes and a museum vacuum where applicable, on a Bassaire extraction unit with an ultra fine ULPA filter. Due to the weakened state of so many of the paper documents and their covers, strengthening and stabilisation was achieved by consolidation of fibres and support and repair to areas of loss and damage. Consolidation using 1% hydroxpropycellulose (‘Klucel G’) in isopropanol had the added advantage of safely denaturing the mould spores in the fibres in the treated areas. Klucel G 3% in isopropanol was also used as an adhesive for lens and Japanese tissue repairs to tears and areas of loss.

The old paper covers were in severely degraded condition and while some could be repaired, nonetheless they would continue to be weak and not provide suitable protection. On this occasion it was decided to commission new hand-made marble papers for new covers. The marble-papers were lined with an archival quality paper to make them slightly stiffer and the cleaned, digitised and repaired pamphlets were re-sewn into them. Archival sleeves were also made for each account to be housed in.

The Principles and Practice of Medicine

The Principles and Practice of Medicine
by William Osler, M.D., F.R.C.P
c.1897
Full case binding, hollow-back, blue buckram cloth with gold-foiled title on spine
Young J. Pentland, Edinburgh and London

This is one of the first modern general medical textbooks by a man named Osler. My client, himself a Doctor, asked me to repair it as it is a family heirloom, originally belonging to his great Uncle, who was also a prolific doctor of his time.

CONDITION

BINDING The volume had sustained substantial damage to the spine covering, which was adhered to the boards by pressure sensitive tape. The spine itself was misshapen and weakened due to inserted material. Both boards were detached and had ware to each of their corners

TEXTBLOCK Several pages throughout the book had been damaged through general use and the endpapers were loose. The back endpaper had written ephemera on its adjacent fly-leaf, which had been damaged along the foredge due to the page being loose.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION There was a substantial amount of inserted material, mostly newspaper articles associated with the relevant chapters within the book. These were causing the sewing along the spine to split. At the beginning of the volume were a selection of needles inserted into the contents page causing rust to the page.

TREATMENT

  • Tape was removed from the spine piece and boards using heat and a crepe eraser and the boards and spine piece were cleaned in preparation for repair.
  • The spine lining was removed and the weak sewing was reinforced using linen thread.
  • A new spine lining was attached and a false hollow created for the new spine.
  • The boards were reattached using a transverse lining in linen.
  • A new toned spine piece was created and attached to the boards.
  • The old spine with title was adhered onto the new spine.
  • The inserted material was removed with the locations recorded, and rehoused into a manila folder with a contents page showing the corresponding pages of the book.
  • The needles that were inserted into the volume were left in their original location to prevent substantial change to the personal input to the volume by the original owner, and they were consolidated to prevent further rusting onto the pages.

As an interesting extra, the original owner had kept several needles, skewering them onto one of the first pages, with dates – unfortunately neither myself nor my client were able to ascertain what they were from – personally I would assume the worst and imagine they were weapons of death, but that may be wayward imagination. My client informed me that these days all medical needles are curved, whereas these were straight.

Mrs E. Neville Jackson’s Scrapbook

Mrs E. Neville Jackson's Scrapbook

Mrs E. Neville Jackson’s Scrapbook
Preparatory scrapbook for Book of Toys
c.1902-1909
Fully bound in black cloth
165x203x33 (WHD)

CONDITION

BINDING had structural stress due to large amounts of inserted material. The front board was damaged and detached from spine and sewing supports. The remaining spine was split from the front board and worn at head and tail. The first section was loose.

TEXTBLOCK paper had some tears and edge damage on first pages. Four pages had been torn out leaving stubbs remaining. The pastedown was detached along with the board, leaving an outside hook at the back of first section.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Large amounts of inserted newspaper cuttings were protruding from the textblock causing discolouration and edge damage.

 

TREATMENT

  • Cleaned throughout with chemical sponge and loose material was removed and documented.
  • Spine was lifted allowing reattachment of the loose first section by sewing to the spine.
  • The texblock and inserted material were humidified where necessary and repaired using toned tissue.
  • Areas of loss were infilled with a sympathetic western paper and supported with a Japanese tissue.
  • An article was removed and re-adhered using a hinge, as to remain in its original state would have meant later damage to the article and book.
  • Loose endpapers were given an outside hook and attached by pulling through the sewing supports and adhering to the spine.
  • Spine lined with Usumino tissue.
  • Front board was attached with Usumino tissue and lined up against the foredge to provide protection to the textblock.
  • Exposed spine area was covered in tissue toned with acrylic paints.
  • Hinge repair to inside of boards to support attachments.

HOUSING

  • Four-flap folder created to support loose inserted material
  • Bespoke clam shell box made to house both book and four-flap folder together, supporting the protruding material within the book by using different levels of plastizote.

Boarding The Book of Puddings

The conservation of this book is going well and picking up speed now, especially as all the paper repairs are done and dusted! The boards are now on, which worked well. I attached them with Japanese tissue that covered the spine and was stuck onto the inside of the boards. Normally I would try and split the boards, but they are so thin that to split them would almost definitely damage them further.

The boards are on the book!

I have also managed to pair my leather and tone it to a good match of the boards, which I did with selaset dyes. This leather will then cover the spine and go under the leather on the boards to bring the book back into a book format – very exciting! The new leather is very thin in order to match the leather on the boards, so to give it a bit more strength, I’ve lined it with a fraynot fabric.

The new spine toned to match the boards, it is a bit wet here, so actually a better match when dry

Fraynot on the spine piece

I have also lined the spine with some western paper, and will be sanding it down a bit to reduce the swell of the sewing supports, it wasn’t dry enough on Friday to do this.

Lining the spine with western paper

Prior to rebacking a book, the edges of the boards always need to be compensated for the leather coming over from the spine. This is always a fiddly bit as the compensation pieces are invariably thin and spindly. I have done mine on this book with some of the freshly paired leather, as it is a good match.

The edge before compensation was done

The edge after compensation was done

The next step will to actually put the leather onto the spine, redo the corners a bit, and sort out the end papers and the book will be pretty much done – then for the enclosure for the newsprint! I have done a sample for this which I will post as instructions themselves, as it’s a great little enclosure!

The scraps are scraps no more

Well I definitely passed a marker today, as I have finished the paper repairs for the toys scrapbook – Mrs E. Nevill Jackson’t Scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. They have taken a long time as many of them protruded from the edges of the book, meaning they have been crushed over the years.

Some pictures of the book and its inserts before I completed the work.

Mrs E Nevill Jackson’s Scrapbook

The head of the book with crushed inserts

The foredge of the book with crushed inserts

In order to repair these pages, many of them had to be locally humidified first, as they were folded in on themselves, and opening up the folds without the introduction of moisture, would have broken them. I separated the local humidification from the rest of the book using melinex and effectively sectioned off a page at a time. Once humidified, they each had to be dried between blotters before I could repair them. The repairs were then done using japanese tissue (usumino) for the support and a toned thicker tissue for any infills, as can be seen in my last post.

The repaired pages…

The front of the book with paper repairs complete

The head of the book with repaired inserts

The foredge of the book with repaired inserts

So obviously now the inserts are much bigger than the book, as they would have been originally. In order to prevent them being crushed again, I am going to have create some sort of chemise cover to extend the boards and protect the inserts – so watch this space!!!