Philippa Rader ACR
I am a private practice book and archives conservator-restorer with wide treatment experience of Western bindings and archival material, including a special interest in albums. I have additional expertise in preservation planning/strategy and exhibition preparation. As I also work as a hand bookbinder and letterpress printer, my understanding of traditional craft techniques and use of materials is invaluable in informing my conservation practice. I was accredited through the Institute of Conservation in 2016 and have been a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation since 2001.
My initial training was by on-the-job instruction in the book & paper conservation lab of the Getty Research Institute in California, rounded-out by generous funding for external professional development courses including undergraduate Chemistry modules at UCLA through extension classes. As well as working privately throughout my career, I have held positions at the Huntington Library in California, The National Archives in Kew and the Royal Collection Trust, where I progressed through increasingly responsible posts over 16 years to become Head of the Royal Bindery based in Windsor Castle.
Frustrated at having become exclusively involved in management activities, I stepped away from institutional employment in late 2019 to join forces with a long-established bookbinder/restorer in an independent business in order to refocus on hands-on treatment, consultation, and training services. Our clients include individuals, private collectors, booksellers, film props commissioners, university and cathedral libraries, national collections and museums. We are founder members and hosts of an annual residential intensive, holding classes in wide ranging aspects of bookbinding and related fields.
Committed to education within the broad field of book conservation-restoration, bookbinding and book arts, I regularly teach and give presentations: I am passionate about both passing on specialist knowledge to future generations and promoting conservation to the general public. I am Vice Chair of the Society of Bookbinders, with a specific remit for education; a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, serving on its charitable bodies that provide financial support for students enrolled in trades of the Guild as well as mentoring grant recipients; a judge for the Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition administered by the National Library of Scotland.
I recently became a founding Director of a new Community Interest Company: Connect-Conserve/Cyswllt-Cadwraeth Cymru CIC. This has been established to connect local museums, community collections and individuals with accredited conservators and funding streams within Wales, as well as to support training and professional development for conservators and students.
ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST, WINDSOR CASTLE, BERKSHIRE, UK: Head of the Royal Bindery, Feb 2017 – Sept 2019; Senior Book Conservator-Restorer, Sept 2015 – Feb 2017; Book Conservator-Restorer, June 2014 – Sept 2015; Archives Bookbinder, Oct 2003 – June 2014. Preservation, conservation and restoration of library and archive material in historic buildings; exhibition preparation; production of presentation bindings and enclosures for state and diplomatic gifts; personal items for HM The Queen.
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, KEW, SURREY, UK: Book Conservator. Conservation of bound archival material (with a focus on stationery bindings), parchment and paper documents.
THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, SAN MARINO, CALIFORNIA, USA: Project Conservator, The Francis Bacon Foundation/Arensberg Collection, Jan – June 2001; Book Conservator, July – Dec 2000. Conservation of rare printed books and bound manuscripts from the permanent collection. Treatment and housing of the Francis Bacon Collection lodged in the library: mostly 17th and 18th century volumes by or relating to the philosopher/statesman Francis Bacon.
HIGH TOWER PRESS, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA: Proprietor. Book and paper conservation services; bespoke bookbinding and letterpress printing; supplier of letterpress stationery for boutique stores. (Freelance work carried out while institutionally employed was with their full knowledge and approval).
GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA: Conservation Assistant, Jan 1994 - Sept 1996; Library/Conservation Assistant, Aug 1992 - Jan 1994. At first accessioning special collections with one or two days a week assisting in the conservation lab. Full-time trainee post evolved, primarily treating special collections books, albums, works of art on paper and photographs; exhibition and environmental monitoring projects; funded for external formal training eg. undergraduate chemistry.