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[BKARTS] Montefiascone Project 2004



Montefiascone is a medieval walled city situated on a huge lake between Rome and Siena. Each summer conservators, librarians, archivists, art historians and others interested in the history and the structure of the book, meet to participate in classes, which are held within the city walls. The programme for summer 2004 is as follows:

The history, chemistry and significance of the pigments used by the medieval artist.

Cheryl Porter

26-30 July

This course is about understanding all aspects of those colours used throughout the medieval period, with particular reference to manuscript illumination. Each day will begin with lectures and slides to illustrate the history, chemistry, iconographic importance and technique of their manufacture and application. This will be followed by a hands-on workshop, where we will re-create the colours using original recipes. All participants will make their own chart of organic and inorganic colours to use for later reference, for analysis or simply for decoration.

The course will be of interest to conservators, calligraphers, librarians and others interested in the history and techniques of book production and the story of colour.

A practical introduction to Byzantine Binding

John Mumford and Caroline Checkley-Scott

2-6 August 2004

This week long course is an introduction to the history of the Byzantine
binding. Through a series of lectures with slides and practical demonstrations it
is hoped that the student will gain an initial understanding of the construction of a Byzantine binding to include sewing, board preparation, endbanding, covering and fastenings. The student will then proceed to make one themselves. Reference will be made to the conservation of historical bindings. All the necessary materials required for making the book will be provided. The student will be required to bring along some basic bookbinding equipment to be specified). Some knowledge of the history of bookbinding would be desirable but is not essential. This course may be interesting to book binders, conservators, design binders and those interested in the history of the book. A pre-course reading list will be provided if desired.
Maximum class number 10.



Engineering the Spine: Structural considerations in the control of opening characteristics


Maria Fredericks

9-13 August 2004

The sewing, lining and materials used in the binding of books will determine the nature of any given book?s opening characteristics. This course will deal in detail with the appropriate construction of book bindings for specific types of text-blocks.

Through the creation of several simple comparative models and presentation of case histories (for example, late medieval bindings, 18th century stiff board vellum bindings, modern Tibetan printed books) this course will highlight binding problems and specific treatments, and demonstrate several methods available to the conservator for creating the desired spine movement in the treated or re-bound book. Implicit in the course content is examination of the decision-making processes and the inevitable compromises that much conservation work involves.


The Treatment and repair of Gutta-Percha and other single leaved books


Anthony Cains

16-20 August 2004

From the 19th century, large numbers of important books were made using
gutta-percha. These books are in libraries and private collections throughout the world and present a number of problems: the adhesive deteriorates and the calico linings rot so that the leaves protrude from the case, plates are misplaced, tissues creased. Very often the object is exposed and vulnerable. Tony Cains has developed a number of methods for the safe repair of these single leaved books. The course will explore the problems associated with treating gutta-percha bindings and will consider allied issues associated with books made without sewing through the fold. Cloth binding repair (re-backing, caps and tails, joints etc) will be addressed where necessary. The central aim when conserving such books is to preserve the text block and the binding in as historically authentic manner as possible, whilst simultaneously making a repair which is non-damaging and durable.


Instructors: Cheryl Porter. Private Conservator


John Mumford: Manager of the Book Conservation Studio. British Library

Caroline Checkley: Conservator, Wellcome Trust

Maria Fredericks: Head of Conservation, Columbia University Libraries

Anthony Cains: Private Consrvator. Formerly Technical Director of Library Conservation Trinity College Dublin


COST: The cost of each course is £345 / $595 per week. This includes all materials and tuition (which is in English). This is a non-profit making programme and any extra moneys are used to buy materials for the library, archives and their collections.


ACCOMMODATION: Participants may stay in a house within the city walls, close to the main square at the centre of the town. Bedrooms are shared (maximum 4 per room) and costs are £12 / $18 per person per night. If preferred, accommodation can be arranged at a local hotel.

CLASSES: are from 9am to 1 (30) pm. Afternoons can be used for private study or for finishing work, or helping in the medieval library ? cleaning, cataloguing etc., though many prefer to take advantage of the spectacular setting to swim in the local clean, huge, volcanic lake, or to explore the town, with its Romanesque and late medieval architecture and friendly inhabitants.



For further information contact: Cheryl Porter: chezzaporter@xxxxxxxxx

8 Ashen Green, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB2 5EY, England

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