Prints by Four Artists

Prints by Four Artists

Artist book of prints by four artists
c. 1641
Fully bound in green parchment
343x504x53 (WHD)

CONDITION

BINDING The heavy parchment cover was damaged in several places, including a piece missing from the back-board and a frayed split down the spine. The cover was pasted onto the boards, and also either lined or placed on lined boards. The boards were warped and had heavy corner damage. Other than this they were fairly solid and reusable.

TEXTBLOCK was packed sewn, though it was mostly broken. There was heavy paper damage with tears along the spine, the edges of the book and two loose leaves. The edges were brittle throughout the book . It was extremely dirty throughout.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION There were two heavily damaged and unusable green ties.

TREATMENT

  • Mechanically cleaned throughout with a chemical sponge.
  • Pulled apart the sewing, keeping the back board and final section attached together as it was part of the last section.
  • Carried out paper repairs to the textblock and section folds using various appropriate Japanese tissue.
  • Consolidated corners of the boards,including recreating one using layered grey board. They were left uncovered.
  • Pressed the boards to flatten where possible, without humidification.
  • Attached new cords to the old cords by sewing and pasting them together.
  • Resewed the sections with packed sewing, using the back board as the primary section to sew from, as final section was still attached.
  • Cords were laced into the boards using the original method.
  • Spine backed with PaperNao K37.
  • Rebacked with parchment, toned with Selaset Dyes.
  • Created and attached a net pouch to preserve the green ties.

Introducing The Book Hut

 

As a book and paper conservator, I have worked at The National Archives and the National Conservation Service in London for many years, as well as taking on private commissions. Then, when an opportunity arose last Summer to open a permanent studio as part of Worthing’s East Beach Studios, I grabbed it with both hands and The Book Hut came to life. Situated on Worthing’s seafront next to artists’ studios, The Book Hut is just a short stroll along from the pier.

At The Book Hut I am able to offer a range of services in the conservation and restoration of books, as well as bespoke bookbinding, for individuals, private collections and businesses. I also hold a range of workshops and tutorials for both adults and children, including the basics in bookbinding and paper marbling for children.

Having taken on the hut in August last year, it has been a busy few months in the run up to Christmas, with conservation and binding projects coming in, two new workshops in place and several open days along the Worthing Seafront.

If you have any projects you would like to discuss, please just stop by the hut, or send me an email. If you are interested in attending any workshops, please just sign up to the blog in the right-hand panel, and I will send out any details as they come up, or check the website for more information at www.thebookhut.co.uk. The Book Hut is open from Saturday to Tuesday 10:00-17:00, so please do drop and say hello!

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Thank you very much to Lorraine Heaysman Photography and Luke Casserly Photography for the fantastic images.

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.

Making a Book Support

This has taken me all of half an hour to make, and I really should have done it about a year ago – why is it the simplest things take the longest to get around to doing?!

A book support is an extremely useful part of a book conservators kit, without one there is a permanent struggle to support the book cover and text block using anything to hand (other books, boards, rolls of felt, the cat… ). They can be bought from PEL, but come at £46.50 plus postage – though they are extremely nice! However, the beans I bought were from Wilko’s for £6.50, and the pillow case was an old one, so all in all a cheaper version.

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Prior to filling up the pillow case, I sewed up the open edge most of the way along, leaving a small gap to fill the beans with. Once I had filled it, I tested it with a few books and found that I needed to take out some of the beans to get the support just right. Once happy, I then sewed up the open edge and TA DA!

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Ginger Beer from The Book of Puddings

Considering one of the books I am conserving for my major project is a recipe book, I have been dying to try some of them out! Unfortunately due to all the project work, I haven’t had time until now! So this weekend (along with a fun day out) I set about making some ginger beer from The Book of Puddings. The plan is also to have some of this at our end of year show – so it was important to try it out first!

The recipe in the book

The book has two recipes for ginger beer on the same page, one written by the author and one from a newspaper she had cut out and stuck in. Considering I was only trying out a small batch, I have gone for the newspaper recipe that makes one gallon, rather than two.

Having bought myself some bottles (Lakeland, £4.99 each – fabulous!), and some yeast and cream of tartar, I set to work (thankfully a fellow student pointed out that this was a baking powder and not the cream tartare that goes on scampi, otherwise this ginger beer could have had a very different flavour!).

All the ingredients and bottles laid out!

I’ve written out both recipes here, as the writing is not that legible so small.

2 lb sugar
2 oz cream of tartar
1/2 oz tartaric acid
2 or 3oz bruised ginger
2 pennyworth essence of lemon dropped in the suer
2 gallons of boiling water poured on the ginger alone

Add the other ingredients when mainly cold, add 2 tbs of yeast on toast and let it stand for  12 hours

Bottle and in a few days it will be ready to drink

For one gallon:
1oz of bruised ginger
1lb loaf sugar
one lemon
two tsp of cream of tartar

Pour on 1 gallon of boiling water and when nearly cold add large tbs yeast speed on toast
Strain and bottle next morning

First was to add a bruised ginger to lemon, tartar and sugar. Not being familiar with ‘bruised’ ginger, I bashed it with a hammer a few times, though I may have been a bit over zealous. Also the loaf sugar was replaced with caster sugar, as I forgot to get this at the supermarket.

“Bruised” Ginger – Maybe I did get a bit excited with the hammer…
Sugar, Lemon, Cream of Tartar and Ginger

I realised from the instructions in both recipes that the yeast had to be spread onto toast, and that the fast action yeast I had was not quite the right stuff. I tried reactivating it with a recipe from Mikes Brewery, but I’m not that sure how well it worked, it was more of a liquid than a cream. However, not to be deterred, it went onto the toast, and into the mix!

Reactivating the yeast – not too sure if this worked
In goes the toast…
… 24 hours later

24 hours and much anticipation later, I sieved and bottled it. Then for the sampling! I think it is supposed to sit bottled for a few days, so I will be sampling some more soon to see if that’s even better!

All bottled!
Sampling the brew!

Well its a bit sweet, so I do think it needs time to sit.

Some days have passed, and it is still a bit sweet, and considerably reduced in quantity, as I omitted to tell The Man that it needs time to brew, and he has been merrily drinking it away!

I might try with some better yeast for the show and proper loaf sugar to see if it makes any difference.

Making Methyl Cellulose

Methyl Cellulose is on a par with wheat starch paste in its usefulness to conservators. It is most commonly used as an adhesive, which is both reversible and water soluble, though not as ‘wet’ as wheat starch paste. It can also be used in a poultice form for removing spine pieces, and is regularly used for consolidating paper edges, where they may have lost strength over time. In each case, the material and media must be tested before MC is used.

This particular recipe is used at the V&A to make MC that can be kept for a month or so, out of the fridge.

Methyl Cellulose 5%

5g Methyl Cellulose
100ml water – 75ml hot and 25ml cold

– put the MC powder into a jar which has a lid.
– pour the hot water on top and stir.
– pour the cold water on top of this and stir again until powder is gone.
– leave for about 1 hour to cool.
– put lid on and leave until clear, about 24 hours.