Historical Book Models and their Relevance to Conservation Studies: Thoughts on the Montefiascone Conservation Project Summer School and the Nature of Book Conservation

Scott W. Devine

In 2015, I taught a course on 16th century Italian slotted parchment bindings for the Montefiascone Project Summer School. I was excited to be a part of the program that year, which celebrated 25 years of teaching conservation and bookbinding at the Seminario Barbarigo. The process of designing the course and being involved in a subsequent research project provided insights into the value of recreating historical book structures.

I attended my first course at Montefiascone in 1998. Having recently completed an internship at the Library of Congress, which included working on a pigment consolidation project for a collection of illuminated manuscripts, I was eager to learn more about the techniques used to create these manuscripts, and Cheryl Porter’s course on “Re-creating the Medieval Palette” represented an ideal combination of lecture and hands-on practice. The process of grinding minerals and boiling organic matter to create a range of color opened my eyes to the incredible value of recreating historical processes: understanding how an object was created through practicing historical techniques can lead to unique insights into how to go about conserving that object. In this sense, learning how to recreate historical processes and techniques becomes a fundamental aspect of training and professional development for a conservator.

Portfolios were constructed after the course to house the pigment samples. The samples serve as teaching and reference tools and are consulted regularly.
Organic dyes were used to color paper, alum-tawed skins, and linen, providing some good  examples of how the dyes react to various materials.

Over the past 30 years, the Montefiascone Project has developed into a well-established international training ground for conservators, bookbinders and scholars: a unique place to explore bookbinding technique, book history and conservation issues in a collaborative and creative environment.  The book program in particular has developed into one of the best ways to study historical structures, often in the context of a specific bookbinding selected from some of the premier rare book collections in the world. 

I taught the slotted parchment structure using a copy of Hesiodou tou Askraiou Erga kai hemerai (the Greek poet Hesiod’s Works and Days), printed by Bartolomeo Zanetti in Venice in 1537 and currently held by Northwestern University Library. The printed text is derived from a 15th century Greek manuscript held by the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice. In preparing the course, I started thinking about the larger issues surrounding why we study historical book structures and why the construction of historical models is so critical to the study of book conservation. 

1. Developing and refining conservation skills. 

Constructing historical models allows the conservator to develop bookbinding and conservation skills in a way that treatment alone does not. While most book conservators have studied traditional bookbinding techniques, such as covering with leather or constructing brass clasps, these skills are infrequently required in modern book conservation and are all too often lost.  Maintaining these skills allows us to use them when needed and appropriate. More importantly, however, the continued refinement of these traditional skills allows us to spot variations in technique on the historic bindings we handle. Being able to distinguish variations can assist in dating or identifying the region of creation and lead to further insights into the spread of bookbinding technique.

On a more personal level for the conservator, constructing a book from the beginning allows for a free expression of intent not always possible in conservation treatment. Conservation has always been an exercise in compromise and balance: artifactual value, curatorial needs, and the changing political and cultural norms that guide our work. At a time when so much of our work is driven by external factors beyond collections care – digitization initiatives and exhibition schedules chief among them – having the time to get lost in the details of a specific book, if only for week, can be both invigorating and rejuvenating. 

2. Gaining insight into historical techniques.

There are two common approaches to recreating historical book structures: 1) constructing a facsimile binding which combines aspects of the most typical examples of the structure being studied; and 2) recreating a specific book. Both methods allow for the development of the hand skills discussed above. However, the latter approach allows us to look more closely into the physical aspects of a specific object, often requiring a higher degree of attention to detail in order to make the facsimile function in the same way.

The process of reproducing a specific binding often challenges our assumptions about how the object was created in the first place and invites us to investigate specific components in detail. In the case of the Northwestern Hesiod, trying to achieve specific results led to a greater understanding of how the book was produced, including how the pasteboards were constructed and how the covering vellum was processed.

We often look at an object and think we know how it was created, but until we try to replicate the technique, we don’t really know. With the Northwestern Hesiod, I conducted numerous experiments to create a modern pasteboard that mimicked the weight, feel and function of the original. The process of making these sample boards led to a better understanding of the role of the pasteboard in controlling the movement of the covering vellum. As a result, one component of the course focused on creating pasteboards with Fabriano CMF Ingress (Bright White) 90 gsm paper. Each board consisted of 17 layers with alternating grain direction, beginning and ending with the grain parallel to the spine of the book. The layers were attached with thick wheat starch paste and pressed briefly in a book press to remove excess paste. Air drying was essential, and if the layers started to delaminate, they were placed briefly back in the book press. The resulting board was lightweight but surprisingly rigid and strong enough to counter the tension of the vellum covering material.

The vellum also posed a challenge. Careful study of the covering vellum, a recycled 15th century manuscript heavy scraped and sanded on one side to remove the original text, led to collaboration with Jesse Meyer at Pergamena to custom produce remarkably thin vellum for the project. Various experiments in covering with the thin, unlined vellum resulted in new skills and techniques which were put to good use during a subsequent parchment binding repair project at The New York Academy of Medicine in 2018.

3. Engaging in scholarly research.

In preparing the course on the Northwestern Hesiod, I had the opportunity to engage in traditional scholarly research in a way that is not typical of most conservation treatments.  My research with the Hesiod began as an effort to understand more about the slotted parchment structure and to quantify holdings in North American research libraries. The goal was to build on the research begun by Silvia Pugliese and, specifically, to determine the prevalence of slotted parchment bindings in collections outside Italy.1 

In the process of studying slotted parchment bindings, however, my interest developed into learning more about Bartolomeo Zanetti and the other books he printed during his time in Venice. I became particularly interested in how these volumes fit into the larger economic and social context of the period, especially the rise of Protestantism and the effect of the Catholic Counter-Reformation on the Venetian book trade. 

During a research trip to Venice, I had the opportunity to study the 15th century manuscript by Demetrio Damilas, Marc. Gr. IX 6 (coll.1006), which Zanetti used to create the 1537 Hesiod. In fact, the 1537 Hesiod is notable for the extensive scholia, or notes, which were copied from the Marciana manuscript. Zanetti’s efforts to edit and reproduce the scholia are remarkable. The way in which the printed book reflects the original manuscript is a fascinating case study in the intersection between manuscript and print culture and represents another aspect of research which will be discussed in the course.

Detail of the 15th century manuscript Zanetti consulted to produce the printed book. The manuscript contains inky black fingerprints and other traces of printer’s ink, likely evidence of Zanetti’s time working with the manuscript.

Having the opportunity to engage in this level of scholarly research is important for the conservator. Understanding how individual objects are used by researchers, putting ourselves in the role of those researchers, helps inform the decisions we make about preserving artifactual value and makes us more aware of ways in which our collections are being used by scholars.

4. Collaborating with colleagues in other fields.

My interest in the Northwestern Hesiod led me to make connections with experts in the fields of both Renaissance Studies and Classical Studies. Learning more about Hesiod and Greek scholarship in the Renaissance has led me to a better understanding of why so many books were being printed in Greek in the early 16th century and the role of Greek language in the development of Italian Humanism. Learning more about the efforts of 14th century scholars such as Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarca to revive the study of Greek and the importance of work by early teachers of Greek such as Manuel Chrysoloras provided new insights into how and why the Venetian book trade developed as it did in the early 16th century and why the study of Greek texts was so important at this time.

In addition, my research on the covering vellum and the recycled manuscript, which was assumed to be from the early 15th century based on paleographic analysis, led to consultation with the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, a collaborative venture between Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago. A team of conservators from Northwestern developed a project proposal and worked closely with conservation scientists and imaging specialists from the Center to design and carry out a research project to uncover the text on the manuscript.

We were particularly interested in the manuscript text as it could shed new light on the kinds of manuscripts which were being dismantled during the early 16th century. It was even possible that the extensive marginal notes on the manuscript may reveal unique commentary, even if the principal text was not unique itself. In fact, the principal text and scholia, in Latin, were identified as part of the Institutes of Justinian, an early effort to codify Roman law and a foundation for modern Western European legal systems. The marginal notes, in Greek, represent unique interpretations, adding to the scholarly study of civil law in 15th century Italy. The results of this research were published in 2017.2

My time working with the Northwestern Hesiod led me to conclude that the making of historical book models represents one of the best ways to explore firsthand the complex nature of book structure and to develop insights into conservation technique. Moreover, the study and construction of historical models represents a unique opportunity for anyone, from amateur bookbinder to experienced conservator, to experience history in a way that few people can. It reminds us of how we connect to the objects and techniques that excite and inspire our work and represents a salient reminder of why we do the work we do. 

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Silvia Pugliese.  “Stiff-Board Vellum Binding with Slotted Spine: A Survey of a Historical Bookbinding Structure.” Papier Restaurierung: Mitteilungen der IADA.  Vol. 2 (2001), 93-101. Online.

Emeline Pouyet, et al.“Revealing the biography of a hidden medieval manuscript using synchrotron and conventional imaging techniques,” Analytica Chimica Acta, Volume 982, (22 August 2017), 20-30. Print.

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©2021 Scott W. Devine

An earlier version of this essay appeared as a blog post on Beyond the Book: Preservation and Conservation at Northwestern University Library on June 17, 2015. It is no longer online.

Scott W. Devine is a book and paper conservator with over twenty years of experience in the field of conservation. He holds a Masters of Information Science with an Advanced Certificate in Conservation Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and received additional training in rare book conservation at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and at the Centro del bel libro in Ascona, Switzerland. He has established conservation programs at three major research libraries in the United States and consulted on a broad range of conservation projects throughout Europe and North America. His research interests include the history of Italian bookbinding and the politics of preservation in Italy. He has designed and taught courses for the Montefiascone Conservation Project Summer School in Italy and currently works as a paper conservator for the Smithsonian Institution.

Montefiascone Project 2020

Another fantastic looking lineup for The Montefiascone Project 2020!  I will be teaching there week two, with a workshop titled “Early nineteenth century American and English bookbinding: machines, materials, structures, and tools” Monte is a special experience, everyone should go at least once.

The early nineteenth century models we will make in my workshop. A common boards binding, an extra boards binding, a tight back cloth binding, and an English style cloth case binding. We will also make dyed and textured book cloth from natural muslin.

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Montefiascone is a small medieval walled city about 100 k (80 miles) north of Rome, on Lake Bolsena. Since 1988, conservators, curators, art historians, book artists, and others interested in books and their history have come together to work, to learn and to enjoy this special place.  Participants come to enjoy the medieval architecture, friendly people, a clean accessible lake, books and scholarship.  The Montefiascone Project is a non-profit making organisation, set up to fund the restoration of the Library of the Seminario Barbarigo in Montefiascone. Participants may attend one, two, three or all four weeks.

Costs are £550 (or euro equivalent) for each week and include all lectures (which are in English).  For more information and to enroll, contact Cheryl Porter: chezzaporter <at> yahoo.com

Week 1: 27th – 31st July

Recreating the colours on the Medieval palette: Western, Hebrew and Islamic.

Course Tutor: Cheryl Porter

This class will study the colours (made from rocks, minerals, metals, insects and plants) that were processed to produce the colours used by artists throughout the medieval era.  The focus will be on manuscript art – Islamic, Hebrew and European. Participants will re-create the colours using original recipes.  Illustrated lectures will address history, geography, chemistry, iconography and conservation issues.  Practical making and painting sessions will follow these lectures. No previous experience is necessary.

Week 2: 3rd – 7th August

Early nineteenth century American and English bookbinding: machines, materials, structures, and tools.

Course Tutor: Jeffrey S. Peachey

In England and America, common book structures changed significantly during the early nineteenth century. A typical inexpensive calf or sheep binding was supplanted by even cheaper, new binding styles, such as paper boards bindings and the three-piece adhesive cloth case. In industrial binderies, the plough was replaced by two quicker machines, the guillotine and the board shear. The way binders worked, and viewed their work, also changed drastically.

We will examine this time period through PowerPoints, readings, discussions, and the hands-on construction of four models: an English common-boards binding, an American extra-boards binding, an American tight-back cloth binding, and an English adhesive cloth case. We will explore methods of replicating plain and textured nineteenth century bookcloth, starting with undyed muslin. Close readings from bookbinding manuals, analysis of bindery images, and the use of historic tools will enhance our understanding of this important time period. Often these binding styles are referred to as “temporary” and we will debate some conflicting evidence and definitions of this term. By the end of the nineteenth century, the cloth case became ubiquitous worldwide. This workshop will equip participants to better understand, interpret, and sympathetically treat nineteenth century books they encounter.

Week 3: 10th – 14th August

Recreating a late sixteenth-century Cambridge bookbinding

Course Tutors: Jim Bloxam and Shaun Thompson, with lectures from David Pearson.

Cambridge, heavily influenced by its university, has always been a place with books at the heart of its activities; a place where they have for many centuries been printed, sold, bound, owned, stored, read and used. Our Montefiascone course, a few years ago, was devoted to making a model of a late 15th century Cambridge binding; this year we will analyse a binding style from a century later and construct a model of a typical late 16th century Cambridge binding.  At the end of the 15th century, leather-covered bindings usually had wooden boards and clasps and decoration depended on labour-intensive repetitive tooling using small hand-held tools.  A century later, wood had given way to pasteboard or pulpboard, clasps had been replaced by cloth ties and decoration looked very different; gilt tooling, unknown in English binding work before about 1520, had become common.

Week 4: 17th – 21st August

A Chinese Qur’an

Course Tutors: Kristine Rose-Beers & Cécilia Duminuco, with a lecture from Alison Ohta

During this class, participants will make a model of Chester Beatty Is 1602, a 17th or 18th century Chinese Qur’an with its original binding. This small manuscript is distinctly Chinese. It is covered with fine patterned silk, and the pages are made of soft, fibrous, Chinese paper. In keeping with many Islamic bindings, it has an envelope flap, but this is squared off, similar to those seen in some south-east Asian Islamic manuscripts. This Qur’an is an example of how aspects of the Islamic book were combined with local decorative traditions influencing ornament, calligraphy and illumination.
According to the historical accounts of Chinese Muslims, Islam was first brought to China by Sa’d ibn abi Waqqas, in 651. Although scholars have not found any historical evidence that he visited China, they agree that the first Muslims must have arrived in China in the 7th century, and that the major trading cities, such as Guangzhou, Quanzhou probably already had their first mosques built during the Tang Dynasty.
Muslims in China have continued to practice their faith sometimes under very difficult circumstances. Today, the Muslim population of China is estimated as representing 0.45% to 2.85% of the total population with 39,000 mosques serving this congregation.  This Qur’an represents the Islamic legacy in China and is a unique opportunity to examine this combination of traditions which were carried along the Silk Roads over the centuries.

COURSE INSTRUCTORS:

Cheryl Porter is Director of the Montefiascone Project. She trained as a book conservator in London and has worked as a conservator, collections manager and consultant for libraries and museums in Europe, Australia, USA and Egypt. She was deputy Director of the Dar al-Kutub (National Library) and Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation Manuscript Project in Egypt from 2008-2011. She has published widely and is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation.

She is currently commissioned by Yale University Press to write a book on the colours used to paint in manuscripts.

Jeff Peachey is an independent book conservator and toolmaker based in New York City. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books for institutions and individuals.  He is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation, has taught book conservation workshops internationally, and has been awarded numerous fellowships to support his book history research, including the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy) and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Collection (New York). He is a Visiting Instructor for the Library and Archives Conservation Education Consortium (LACE) of Buffalo State University, New York University, and the Winterthur/ University of Delaware. “Ausbund 1564: The History and Conservation of an Anabaptist Icon” is his latest publication.

Shaun Thompson is a traditionally trained bookbinder with over thirty years’ experience and a passionate advocate for the importance of hand bookbinding skills in book conservation. He has worked for Cambridge University Library for the past 17 years and presently holds the position of Collection Care Manager.

Shaun has a research interests in early northern European book structures and has made good use of the Library’s collections to examine the physical aspects and historical techniques used in medieval bindings. He is also an experienced and highly skilled practical teacher, having taught hand bookbinding to conservation students in the UK, at both West Dean College and Camberwell College of Arts. He taught courses at Montefiascone since 2013 and is looking forward to returning to share his ever-widening knowledge and experience.

Jim Bloxam, Head of Conservation and Collection Care, Cambridge University Library, UK. Jim is an Accredited Conservator of the Institute of Conservation. His particular research interests lie mainly in the history of books; their structural qualities and their cultural context. He has taught historical book structures in the UK, Europe and the US, focusing mainly on European book structures.

David Pearson retired in 2017 as Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries for the City of London Corporation, after a professional career of 35 years or so working in various major research libraries in London and elsewhere. He is now a Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies in the University of London, and a member of the teaching staff of the London Rare Books School there. He has published extensively on aspects of book history, with a particular interest in aspects of the book as an owned and designed object; his books include Provenance Research in Book History (1994), Oxford Bookbinding 1500-1640 (2000), English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800 (2005), and Books as History (2008). He has taught and lectured in these fields for numerous audiences and is a Past President of the Bibliographical Society.

Kristine Rose-Beers is Head of Conservation at the Chester Beatty in Dublin and an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation. Her research interests include the conservation of Islamic manuscript material, early binding structures and the use of pigments and dyes in medieval manuscripts.

Before moving to Ireland, Kristine worked at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as Assistant Keeper (Conservator of Manuscripts and Printed Books); at the Chester Beatty Library with a particular focus on the Turkish manuscript collection; and at Cambridge University Library. She graduated from the Conservation programme at Camberwell College of Arts in 2002 and is a member of the Board of Directors of The Islamic Manuscript Association.

Cécilia Duminuco is a book and paper conservator. She graduated from the École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc of Liège with a Masters in Painting Conservation in 2013, before completing a Masters in the Conservation of Books and Library Materials at West Dean College in the UK in 2015. Cécilia joined the Chester Beatty in Dublin as Heritage Council Intern in Conservation 2015-16, before moving to Cambridge University Library to work on Charles Darwin’s Library digitisation project. She then worked at the University of Manchester, before returning to Cambridge University Library in 2019 to work on the digitisation of Greek Manuscripts. Cécilia  has now relocated to Belgium where she continues to follow her passion for early bookbinding, non-Western book structures, pigments in illuminated manuscripts and painted surfaces.

Alison Ohta is currently Director of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  She completed her thesis at SOAS (London University) on Mamluk bindings and has published and lectured extensively on the subject.

 

Montefiascone Conservation Project 2012

Very raw sienna, which I picked up in a parking lot outside of Sienna, Italy in 2009.

I’m teaching my 18th century French class in Montefiascone, Italy, August 20-24, 2012.  Needless to say I’m thrilled. All the classes look really great. In the first week, Cheryl Porter is teaching her Re-creating the Medieval Palette.  I attended the lecture portion of this class when she taught it here in NYC, and it really opened my eyes.  But it seems taking the class in Italy would be exceptional by soaking in the local pigments and colors — the blue of Lake Bolsena, the red of montepulciano d’abruzzo — bellissimo!  The second week is Julia Miller’s The Glazier Codex.  I was fortunate enough to sit in on a small portion of this class when Julia visited the Morgan Library & Museum while teaching in NYC. The class had the opportunity to spend a morning with the actual Glazier, arguably one of the most important books in the world.  Julia’s scholarly knowledge of this book was impressive.  Ana Beny’s The Mudehar Book looked interesting enough to me to register for it as a student.  I don’t know much about Spanish binding from this pivotal time, and look forward to learning more.  And in week four, I will be teaching my Eighteenth Century French Class, for the first time incorporating a lot of new research — and many powerpoint presentations —  from when I was a fellow at the Morgan last fall.

I think every book conservator should attend Monte at least once in their career. It generally proves to be an unforgettable experience: concentrated learning, the opportunity to forge friendships with international colleagues, and enjoying the hedonistic pleasures that Italy offers.

For further information or to register for one week or more, please contact Cheryl Porter: chezzaporter (at) yahoo.com.

The Monte website.

Check out the Monte Facebook page.

In case you are a little short of funds, consider applying here for Conservation by Design’s Nicholas Hadgraft Scholarship worth 1,500.00 Euros.

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MONTEFIASCONE   SUMMER  2012  

July 30 – August 3

Re-creating the Medieval Palette

Course Tutor: Cheryl Porter

This class will study the colours (made from rocks, minerals, metals, insects and plants) that were processed to produce the colours used by artists throughout the medieval era. The focus will mostly (though not exclusively) be on manuscript art (Islamic and European) and participants will re-create the colours using original recipes. Illustrated lectures, will address the history, geography, chemistry, iconography and conservation issues. Practical making and painting sessions will follow these lectures.

August 6 – 10

The Glazier Codex

Course Tutur: Julia Miller

The Glazier Codex contains a parchment manuscript of the first half of the Acts of the Apostles, written in Coptic and illuminated.  The manuscript and its binding are thought to date from the late 5th  /early 6th century.

The workshop goal is to make a full size model of the original binding.  The original text consists of 15 gatherings of vellum sheets, 4 sheets (a quaternion) of vellum per gathering; we will be substituting paper.  The sewing is a link style variation, and we will be adding simple link style endbands. The Glazier Codex has a decorated leather spine piece that extends beyond the head edge of the spine, nearly covering (and thus protecting) the head edge of the text block.  One theory is that the tail edge of the spine piece extended in a similar fashion to protect the tail edge of the text block.  The Codex has bare wooden boards with two wrapping bands, one extending from the top edge of the upper cover, and one from the fore edge of the upper cover.  Each wrapping band is finished with a decorated bone slip used to anchor the wrapped bands.  There is evidence that the codex had a bookmark attached to the outer corner of the lower board.

Workshop lecture and discussion will compare early codex book formats found in Egypt using images and models of early structures to illustrate structural changes in the codex. Study of the binding of the Glazier Codex will be supported through extensive images of the original. Handouts, including a reading list, will be included in the workshop materials. Basic bookbinding skills are required; we will be doing very minimal paring the leather we use for the binding but we will be sanding wood and bone so please bring a face mask if you prefer.  You may also wish to bring your own supplies of materials (wood, leather, paper) to make additional models and samplers in your free time (!) from the teaching model collection, which ranges from wooden tablets and papyrus notebooks to a late-Coptic full-size model of a Hamuli cover.

August 13 – 17

The Mudejar Binding

Course Tutor: Ana Beny

From Christian Spain, in the 14-16th centuries, as part of the heritage of al-Andalus, came the so-called “Mudejar” binding style – many with Gothic wooden boards and strong Islamic influences in the decoration.

Through the use of Powerpoint and other resources, the course will give an over-view of Gothic binding structures and examine previous influences on its evolution and how it, in turn, influenced later bindings. Special attention will be focused on the characteristics of Spanish bindings throughout this period.

Participants will construct a full-scale model in order to understand the unique features – especially those constructions that control the functioning of the spine and its movement. Students will sew the text-block, prepare the wooden boards and parchment spine lining, make end-bands, board attachment, leather covering, anchor clasps and decorate the cover. There will also be opportunity to practice the blind-tooled decoration with damp and/or heat techniques.

All materials needed to construct the book can be provided, though participants will need to bring basic bookbinding tools. Some knowledge of binding is essential as is the motivation to work longer hours than is usual for the programme.

August 20 – 24

Eighteenth Century French Binding

Course Tutor: Jeff Peachey

Participants will construct a typical full calf late eighteenth century French binding. In some respects, this structure is the end of 1,200 years of hand leather binding; by the mid nineteenth century the mechanized publisher’s cloth case begins to predominate.  Particular attention will be given to the techniques originally used to make these books, informed by close readings of multiple contemporaneous technical descriptions—Gauffecourt’s 1763 Traité de la Relieure des Livres, Diderot’s 1765 Encyclopedié and Dudin’s 1772 L’Art du Relieur-doreur de Livres—the examination of extant bindings, and the use of antique and reproduction tools.  Typical features of this binding style include a hand beaten textblock, edges ploughed in-boards and colored; single or double core endbands, vellum spine liners, and several methods of leather decoration. Several presentations will contextualize the bindings and historic equipment. The numerous problems these structures pose for conservators will also be discussed. This workshop is constantly updated, incorporating ongoing research. Basic bookbinding skills are a prerequisite.

More information: https://jeffpeachey.wordpress.com/workshops-with-peachey/

TEACHERS:

Cheryl Porter has been Director of the Montefiascone Project since its inception in 1988. After graduating from Camberwell College (University of the Arts, London) she worked at University College London Paintings Analysis Unit, analysing the use of pigments in paintings and manuscripts. From 1992-2006 she worked as a freelance conservator, mostly for universities and learned institutions. She was Manager of Conservation and Preservation at the Dar al-Kutub (National Library and Archives

of Egypt) and Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation 2007-2010 and is currently employed as a Consultant for a number of institutions with book, papyrus and manuscript collections in Egypt. She has published many articles concerning colour in manuscripts and has lectured in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and throughout

Europe.

Julia Miller is a bench-trained conservator who in recent years has turned her focus to the study and teaching of historical binding structure and style, with a special emphasis on early Coptic book structures.  Julia has taught a variety of early structures around the U.S. and beyond, and has traveled to Cairo twice, in part to study the bindings that originally sparked her interest in early bindings, the fourth century single-quire bindings known as the Nag Hammadi codices.  In 2008 Julia received a Kress Foundation/FAIC conservation publication fellowship to write a book on historical structure and style titled Books Will Speak Plain: A handbook for identifying and describing historical bindings, published by The Legacy Press and released in December 2010 (thelegacypress.com).  The book is directed toward curators, collectors, and conservators, and will be of interest to book artists who draw on historical structure as a platform for their own work.  Julia is currently editing a collection of essays on the history of binding and will be a contributor on the subject of American scaleboard bindings growing out of a research fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia in the fall of 2010; the collected essays will be published in fall of 2012. She will be lecturing or teaching in 2012 for Rare Book School in Virginia, the North Bennet Street School in Boston, the Rare Books and Manuscript program at the University of Illinois, the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in Portland, and the Montefiascone program in Italy.

Ana Beny is a freelance conservator and consultant, with her own workshop in Madrid. Since 1984, when she graduated from the “Conservatori de les Arts del Llibre” of Barcelona, she has worked on the conservation of artifacts on paper, papyrus and parchment, with special dedication to historical bookbinding. She has conducted workshops and lectured in the Montefiascone Project, Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Philippines and Egypt. Currently she collaborates with various institutions, including the Polytechnic University of Madrid and with Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation & Dar Al-Kutub Manuscript Conservation Project in Cairo.

Jeffrey Peachey

Jeffrey S. Peachey is the owner of a New York City-based studio for the conservation of books and the inventor of conservation tools and machines. He is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation and for more than 20 years has specialized in the conservation of books for institutions and individuals.  He was the 2011 Sherman Fairchild Conservation Research Fellow at the Morgan Library & Museum, studying the structures, tools and techniques of 18th century French bookbinding. More information: https://jeffpeachey.wordpress.com/about/

The cost of the classes is: 445 British pounds  ($700 US, 550 Euro) per week and includes all tuition (which is in English) and (most) materials. The Montefiascone Project is a not-for-profit organization, and all extra monies are used to finance the cataloguing and the conservation and preservation of the collection.

For further information or to register for one week or more, please contact Cheryl Porter: chezzaporter (at) yahoo.com.