Book of inventories of various College possessions (1506-89), the Archive Centre, King’s College, Cambridge
A limp vellum binding with foredge flap and short parchment ties, and a paper textblock with manuscript in iron gall ink, predominantly in the first half. The textblock was originally sewn on just two double tanned leather sewing supports with linen thread, but the sewing structure and supports had broken down completely and the textblock had become detached from the vellum cover. Given the shrinkage and distortion of the original limp vellum cover, a new binding was required in addition to extensive textblock repairs. The College Archivist was keen to retain a similar binding with foredge flap while ensuring that it could be opened and displayed with ease.
To conserve this inventory in such a way that it would flex well, it was agreed that an Espinosa-style binding (soft alum-tawed skin sewing supports and spine with laced-in vellum covers) would be constructed with the addition of a foredge flap in keeping with the original cover.
After extensive paper repairs were carried out to the textblock’s edges and spine folds, it was sewn onto alum-tawed skin thongs supported with linen braids, adding new endpapers. The textblock was then laced into an alum-tawed skin spine piece or ‘bonnet’, primary and secondary endbands were sewn to attach the textblock to the bonnet at the head and tail, and then it was ready for new vellum covers with turn-ins to allow for linings and support. The new back vellum cover was constructed with a similarly shaped foredge flap to the original. It comprised a fold of vellum at the tail, secured with slots and tongues on all edges, giving the flap a certain weight to stay open when displayed and a smooth surface against the textblock.
The new Espinosa-style binding gives the inventory a good, fully supported opening arch and the conserved textblock is fully protected by the vellum covers.