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[BKARTS] Montefiascone Project Schedule, 2007



Posted on behalf of Cheryl Porter:


Montefiascone Project Summer 2007




Montefiascone is a mediaeval walled city situated on a huge lake about half way between Rome and Siena. Each summer conservators, archivists, art historians, librarians and others interested in the history and the structure of the book, meet to participate in classes which are held within the city walls. There are four week long courses with different themes. Participants may come for one week or more.





Week 1: July 30-August 3

Colours used to paint in manuscripts- Western and Islamic

Participants will study the history, chemistry and significance of the pigments used by the mediaeval artist. Each of the colours will be re-created using original recipes and painted out in traditional binding materials

No previous experience is necessary to do this course.

Course Tutor:

Cheryl Porter set up the Montefiascone Project in 1994 and has been Director of the programme since its inception. She is a freelance conservator, teacher and researcher and has conducted workshops and lectured widely in Australia, Canada, USA and Europe.



Week 2: August 6-10

The Nag Hammadi Codices - Single Quire Bindings
The class will include an in-depth discussion of the history of early single quire bindings, as well as a thorough examination of ten of the 11 extant Nag Hammadi covers with discussion about how the bindings differ and in which ways they are similar to each other. A reference collection of articles, images and models will be available for use by the class for the week. The class will complete one scale replica binding of one of the Nag Hammadi codices, using papyrus for at least part of the textblock and leather for the covers. The class will also complete a key showing the attachment systems found on the Nag Hammadi codices. Time permitting, we will also work on a scale replica binding of a 16th c. Spanish binding, using paper for the textblock and heavyweight paper for the cover


The class will look at slides of historical quire bindings; handle pre-prepared models and have access to references and handouts based on the scholarly work of Doresse, Robinson, Szirmai and Sharpe, among others. A packet of reference materials will accompany the structural notes.

Course Tutor:

Julia Miller is a bench-trained conservator. After receiving her degree in archival administration she worked as archivist on a grant project at the Berea College Library, Berea, Kentucky. She subsequently moved to Pittsburgh where she was apprenticed to Jean Gunner at the Hunt Botanical Institute of Carnegie-Mellon University. After working as a conservator at the Ohio Historical Society conservation lab in Columbus, Ohio, she moved to Ann Arbor and repaired books for private collectors. Julia joined the staff of the U of M conservation lab in 1984 and her position there involved doing extensive condition surveys of rare collections, advising library staff about treatments, performing minor and major treatments on bound and unbound materials and supervising and training staff and student workers. She is particularly interested in historical binding style and structure.



Week 3: August 13-17 August

The Armenian Manuscript

The week long course is an introduction to the history of the Armenian book. Through a series of lectures with slides and practical demonstrations, the student will gain an understanding of the construction of a Armenian binding including sewing, board preparation, end-banding and covering. Areas such as Armenia and Armenian Christianity will be covered, including the role of the book in Armenian culture,
literature and faith and the themes of illuminated miniatures in the Armenian manuscript. All the necessary material required for making the book will be provided in order for participants to then re create the structure during the week (cost to be specified). Participants will be required to bring some basic bookbinding equipment (to be specified).
Some knowledge of the history of bookbinding is desirable, but is not essential. The course will be of interest to book binders, conservators, design binders and those interested in the history of the book. A pre- course reading list is available.


Course Tutors:
John Mumford served a five year apprenticeship at the British Museum and subsequently helped establish the Rare and Early Book Conservation Studio at the British Library. In 1992 he was appointed manager of the Oriental and India Office Book Conservation Studio, furthering his study of early Oriental and Eastern binding structures. In 1998 he became manager of the Oriental and Eastern Book Conservation Studio at the new British Library at St Pancras. John is currently the Head of Book Conservation at the British Library. He has taught at the London College of Printing, The Colchester Institute, as well as undertaking many
workshops in the UK and abroad.


Rev. Dr Vrej Nersessian is curator in charge of books and manuscripts of the Christian Middle East Cultures (Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Syrian) in the British Library, London. He was educated in Calcutta at the Armenian College and at the Etchmiadzin Theological Seminary. He continued his education at Kings College London, from which he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Divinity. He has published widely including the much acclaimed Treasures from the Ark: 1700 years of Armenian Christian Art, following the exhibition of the same name, held at the
British Library in 2001.


Caroline Checkley-Scott studied printing and bookbinding in Dublin, Ireland. She was appointed trainee book conservator at the British Library, London in 1991, where she worked at the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, and the Oriental and India Office Library andRecords. Here she specialised in the conservation of early Christian
manuscripts from the Middle East. In February 2001 Caroline started work at the Wellcome Library in the Preservation and Conservation Department with Tony Bish. In this year she became an accredited member of the Institute of Paper Conservation. She is now the Senior Conservator at the Wellcome Trust Library. She has lectured both nationally and internationally in Slovenia, Argentina and Brazil.




Week 4: 20-24 August

Medieval Arab bookbindings in Spain: History, structure, materials and decoration.
The Arabs dominated Spain for seven centuries, from the early 7th century to the end of the 15th. They lived side by side with Christians and Jews, sharing and cross-fertilising each others' cultures. During this period a vigorous production of books emerged with typical features in different styles and structures, and in which the influence between these three cultures is pronounced. Although few books survive - mostly from the last period of their production - those that do, show us the richness of that period in the area called "Al Andalus", in the Arab occupied South of Spain.
The course is an introduction to the history of these book bindings. Through a series of lectures with slides, together with the re- creation of an historic envelope model, study of the sewing of the text-block, endband preparations, attaching boards through a fabric support, leather cover and cover decoration, the student will gain an understanding of the construction of a typical binding and its variations.


All the material needed for making the book will be provided. Participants will need basic bookbinding tools. Some knowledge of binding would be helpful, but is not essential.
Course Tutor:


Ana Beny is currently a freelance conservator, with more than 20 years experience. Graduated in 1984 from the "Conservatori de les Arts del Llibre" of Barcelona, she rapidly built her first workshop and began working in Catalonia. From1988 to 2005, Ana worked in her own workshop in Madrid, where her major duties included the coordination of staff and the training of interns. During those years, she worked for the most important Spanish institutions, carrying out conservation work and designing workshops. She has worked with manuscripts on paper and parchment, printed books, maps, atlases and globes, fans and folding screens. She is particularly interested in historic bindings and has treated Arabic books from the Royal History Academy, Islamic Library, the Extremadura Library and several private collections in Spain. Ana Beny has conducted workshops and lectured widely in Spain, Brazil and the Philippines. At this moment she is collaborating with the University of Granada in the launching of a course on Arab manuscripts conservation.



The cost of the classes is £345 Stirling per week. ($685 US) This includes all instruction, which is in English. For further information contact Cheryl Porter (chezzaporter@xxxxxxxxx) or consult the Montefiascone website www.monteproject.com

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