Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

June 11 2011

02mydafsoup-01
Conserving a medieval manuscript | State Library of Victoria - Australia

When the Library decided to restore a 15th-century book, the process was documented. Follow the conservation treatment undertaken on the 15th-century English manuscript

"Pilgrimage of the life of man, and pilgrimage of the soul"

for the exhibition The medieval imagination.

Read the transcript

Textual description – Pilgrim's progress Video

This Pilgrim's progress video is presented on a black background with floral detail reflecting a medieval illustrative motif around the edges of the screen. Images and captions describe the conservation process of one of the Library's medieval manuscripts.

Frame 1

The Library’s conservation section undertook major conservation treatment of the 15th-century English manuscript Pilgrimage of the life of man, and Pilgrimage of the soul for the exhibition The medieval imagination.

Frame 2

Extensive damage to the vellum leaves and brittle glue on the folds of the spine made it very difficult to handle and display without causing further damage to this precious item, so after much research and discussion it was decided to treat and rebind the manuscript.

Frame 3

Image of manuscript being disbound from damaged 17th-century binding. The disbound sections showed a thick layer of animal glue on vellum folds.

Frame 4

The vellum leaves on left have been cleaned and repaired.

Frame 5

Extensive research into the repair method of the vellum leaves was undertaken by senior conservator Jane Hinwood. A team of five conservators spent weeks repairing the vellum pages in preparation for rebinding.

Frame 6

While it was unbound it was possible to carry out a scientific analysis of the pigments and inks.

Frame 7

Deborah Lau, analytical conservation scientist from the CSIRO, undertook non-destructive x-ray fluorescence analysis and azurite, vermillion and tin-lead yellow were positively identified in the text and illuminations.

Frame 8

Image of equipment used in the analysis.

Frame 9

In-depth research into English medieval binding and discussion with conservation colleagues from the UK fed into the decisions about how to rebind the manuscript.

Frame 10

Book conservator Ian Cox sewed together the repaired sections of the manuscript on a sewing frame.

Frame 11

Image of the completed sewn textblock with endbands.

Frame 12

Then, boards were prepared and attached to the textblock.

Frame 13

Once the boards are attached, the manuscript is ready for covering.

Frame 14

The next step is attaching an alum tawed leather cover. Damp goat skin is tied up with linen thread in a finishing press to form pronounced raised bands.

Frame 15

To finish the covering, the manuscript's alum tawed goat skin, adhered to boards, is trimmed. The textblock is wrapped in wax paper for protection. Archival materials were used in the binding which will protect this precious collection item for the future.

Frame 16

The manuscript was successfully rebound using a non-adhesive binding style and covered with white alum tawed goat skin, sympathetic in appearance with a 15th-century English medieval manuscript.

Frame 17

Image of the re-bound manuscript open on a workbench.

Frame 18

Book conservator Ian Cox holds the completed manuscript at a workbench in the conservation laboratory.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl