The Principles and Practice of Medicine
by William Osler, M.D., F.R.C.P
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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…
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!!!
This is the first book I am working on for my MA major project, the second being Mrs E. Nevill Jackson’s Scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. This one is a recipe from an individual rather than a Museum, and is absolutely wonderful to work on.
My client, whose book this is, receieved this book as an heirloom. It was put together by her great aunt, Kathleen A. Christmas, and is a collection of receipes and household tips from during the war.
I thought I would post some updates of the work that I am doing on the book, as well as try out some of the recipes – some of them are quite interesting, like how to make omelettes with powdered eggs! – They are all wartime recipes, based on rations of food at the time, and are quite fabulous!
Some time back in a post earlier in the year, I mentioned that I would potentially be working on a scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. Well I was lucky enough to be allowed that project to work on as part of my MA final project, along with a recipe scrapbook that I am working on at college.
So I thought I would write an update of the work I have been doing on this second scrapbook, whilst at the V&A. This past week, I have been working on substantial paper repairs for the material that is sticking out of the scrapbook. These are items that, due to their oversize, have been bashed and damaged – so I am repairing them.
It’s quite short and picture heavy, this one, but I will try and post some more soon!