Medieval Book of Hours, 1480
This Christian devotional book of prayers was originally made and bound in the early fifteen century and used by a prominent cardinal. It has since been rebound into boards, as a full leather binding. The textblock is vellum and the illuminations are of a fine quality using gold leaf and other colourful media.
The medieval book is showing signs of wear commensurate with its use as a devotional text, and has been loaned for an exhibition. Before being exhibited it is necessary to stabilise the textblock and the media to safeguard the book and its contents.
With both endbands damaged and a split in one of the lower cords, there is considerable fragility in the opening profile of the book. Both endpapers have started to delaminate, exposing waste sheets on the boards as well as being damaged due to their protrusion from the textblock. Some of the media is also delaminating and there are losses due to abrasion.
In order to stabilise them, both endbands were re-wound with the existing thread and secured onto the spine using toned Japanese tissue adhered with wheat starch paste, in places that allow them to move when opening the book. The section split was bridged using Pliester tape and a supportive strip of Japanese paper on the textblock spine at both head and tail, evening out the strain on the textblock and protecting the endband tie-downs. The flaking media was consolidated using a 2% solution of isinglass introduced under the fragments and into the cracking areas to bond with the substrate.
The endpapers were repaired but not pasted down, so the waste sheets below can be accessed and studied.
This Book of Hours can now be exhibited safely with an opening angle of 90 degrees on a bespoke Perspex cradle.