Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Literary Reconstruction

I've begun working on an important collection of several 17th and 18th century poets, or at least their literary remains. Currently on the bench are two 1674 editions of George Herbert's "The Temple" and a 1720 2-volume quarto edition of the poetical works of John Milton. A partially disbound copy of "The Temple" was pulled, mended, resewn, bound, and tooled in the photos above. A second copy needing no text repair was rebound in dark calf, the last picture above. (Pictured lying on "Walton's Lives", in for a reattachment of its boards. The Milton volumes below need new spines, having been rebacked in weak sheepskin sometime last century, those weak joints finally splitting apart. The original headbands were gone, having been replaced with a thick cord tucked into the headcap, so they're being resewn in the photos posted here. The new headbands will be age-toned to match their respective edges (top edges are usually dirtier than bottom) and will go unnoticed (as they should) when the new leather has been worked on. A cloth inner joint was visible and machine-made pastedowns had just been applied over the originals, so those layers were removed all the way back to the original leather turnins. The original leather has been treated with a consolidant, all later materials eliminated, and labels saved in case they're worth reusing. (That'll be decided when new leather is in place and the final results can better be anticipated.) More pics as we progress!

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