Philippa Räder 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, I have a good understanding of traditional craft techniques and use of materials, which 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 through on-the-job instruction in the book and 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. 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 over 16 years to become Head of the Royal Bindery based in Windsor Castle. In the latter post I managed a staff of 10 and was responsible for the preservation and conservation of library and archive material in the Royal Collection and Royal Archives, across all locations and royal residencies, as well as the production of fine binding work for state and diplomatic gifts.
Frustrated at having become exclusively involved in management activities, I stepped away from institutional employment in late 2019 in order to refocus on hands-on treatment and consultation services, as well as to explore teaching opportunities. To this end, I joined forces with a long-established, traditionally-trained hand bookbinder. 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, book conservation, and related fields.
I am committed to education within the broad fields of book conservation-restoration, bookbinding and book arts, as well as the promotion of conservation to the general public. I am Vice Chair of the Society of Bookbinders, with specific remit for outreach and 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 and mentoring grant recipients; an Icon student mentor; an Icon ACR CPD review reader; a presentation abstract assessor for the International Association of Book and Paper Conservators (IADA); 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: Cyswllt-Cadwraeth/Connect-Conserve Cymru. This has been established to connect local museums, community collections and individuals with accredited conservators and funding streams within Wales. Any profit goes to support training and professional development for conservators and students, and to engage in community projects.
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 the royal family.
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 full knowledge and approval).
GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA: Conservation Assistant, Jan 1994-Sept 1996; Library/Conservation Assistant, Aug 1992-Jan 1994. Initially accessioned special collections & assisted in the conservation lab 1 or 2 days a week. Full-time apprenticeship evolved, primarily treating special collection books, albums, works of art on paper & photographs; worked on exhibition & environmental monitoring projects; was funded for external formal training eg. undergraduate chemistry.