Mondays at MoDA

Over the past four weeks, and for the next two, four of us gals from Camberwell have been spending the day at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA), where we’ve been making archival boxes for their library. The reason for this being that MoDA, and the part of Middlesex University to which it is connected, is moving (quite frankly this seems like an excellent idea to me, as its current location in Cockfosters, seems like the other side of the world after two hours on the tube!!).

Anyway, as any good trainee book conservator will know, books must be protected in a move, especially those which may be fragile in any way – this could be the cover, spine, boards, text block – anything really. So we’ve been making phase boxes for the badly damaged books and melinex wrappers for reasonable conditioned books with their dust jackets in tact. I’m still not that keen on these glued phase boxes, there seems too much margin for error, but I’m getting better at them.

The museum has a large collection of books on domesticity including cookery books, interior design, house keeping etc, many of which date back to the early 20th century, and some possibly earlier still. An excellent collection and great museum, well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Here are a couple of pictures of the studio – I’m always a fan of seeing studio pictures.

Dickin’ around at the V&A

Well last Friday our class spent a really interesting afternoon at the V&A seeing the conservation being done on the Dickens manuscripts for David Copperfield – these were the actual pages that Dickens wrote – amazing!

Here you can seen some of the pages as I imagine they would have looked like on Dickens’ desk – all piled up and scribbled on! It’s unlikely these will be seen again in these piles as they are being re-bound in manuscript volumes for safe keeping at the National Art Library at the V&A.

The V&A are working through all the Dickens manuscripts they own and rebinding them, as the way they were previously bound (tipped on at three edges) was starting to pull at the pages. In their new housing the pages will be tipped on one edge and held down on the opposite side with a paper tag similar to what you would find in a photo album (as in the image above). This means the pages will be able to move around if they need to.

The covers of the manuscripts are in a replica marble paper that matches the original paper that covered the first bindings of these manuscripts that happened around Dickens’ time. These original bindings were taken apart in the 60’s by the V&A and rebound – this is what is now being updated.