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The Completed Work

Posted: 2012-03-31 08:48

Here are a number of select images of my most recently completed commission. As referred to in my previous post '' A work in progress...'', the spine of this album has been rebacked with matching skiver leather and tooled in period style decoration. The inner joints of both the first and last guarded mounts have been lifted and then subsequently reinforced by underlaying with new OLB matching cloth. The original linen was then relaid over the new substrate to complete the repair. The covering boards can now be opened without the risk of becoming detached from the text block. A general refurbishment of the wooden boards was undertaken by a light surface polish of the lacquer, and the removal of unsightly minor scratches and corner damage by colour staining.

http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2901.JPG http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2902.JPG

http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2910(1).JPG http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2907.JPG

http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2916(1).JPG http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2917(1).JPGIf you wish to keep an update of other commissions as they progress through the workshop ' click - on ' the Yell.com logo on the Welcome Page of this site.
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A work in progress.....

Posted: 2012-03-20 09:45

Here are some images of work in progress on my current commission for a mainland client. The rebacking, repair and refurbishment of an Edwardian era Chinese Photograph/Postcard Album. The album was finished with black, lacquer wooden boards depicting a gilt hand painted rural scene with relief details of carved ivory on the figures. The spine; of which only a few fragments of the original remain, is to be replaced and is of period matching Burgundy coloured skiver. This will be hand tooled with decorative floral pallets in gilt. They will traverse the width of the spine to form a traditional five panel presentation. The guarded mounts of the text block have been covered with damask and delicate hand painted silk. As for many of the antiquarian book projects I complete, a custom made ' clam shell ' style box will be constructed for the long term protection/storage of this particular item.

http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2570.JPG

http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2573.JPG

http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF2865(1).JPG

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What to consider......

Posted: 2012-03-14 09:27

'' Like a Bull at a gate '', is a saying that many are probably familiar; and sadly over the years when one inspects the so called '' handy work '' of a few rogue Book Restorers/Conservators operating today, we can understand why this expression is applicable. The following is a list of some of the basic considerations which should be taken into account before any work on antiquarian objects is undertaken:

What is the importance of the object and why is it being preserved ?.

What evidence does it carry ?. Might it be lost during treatment ?.

How often is it likely to be consulted ?.

What is it the likely future use of the object ?. Reader or Exhibition ?.

How and where will it be stored after conservation - open shelves or stack ?.

What will be the final ' make-up ', and how will it be presented to the reader ?.

Additionally, the guiding principles for a Conservator are:

All work must be reversible.

No repair must cover or obliterate evidence.

All treatment must be be carefully recorded.

The integrity of the object should be respected at all times.

As far as possible the function of the object should be preserved i.e. flexible paper must flex.

Repair like with like: paper with paper, skin with skin.

Repair materials must be of high quality, long lasting and neutral.

After treatment the object should be left in a chemically pure condition.

The final handling, storage and presentation of the material must be considered. Very heavily used items should ideally be microfilmed or digitized, and its use restricted.

If the item is to be transported or despatched, it should be packed in a way that offers full protection, and it is not easily damaged during the process of being removed from its consignment.


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A Brief History of Publisher's Bookbinding

Posted: 2012-03-04 22:04

In the early part of the nineteenth century the majority books were sold in the following presentations:

- In quires (a batch of totalling 25 in number) of flat sheets.
- Wrappered (i.e. within a loose fitting paper cover).
- Between boards
- Bound with ' laced-on ' boards attached, covered in either a Full, Half or Quarter leather format.

Between 1820 and 1832 three events took place which revolutionised the bookbinding trade. These being the development of casing, the invention of bookcloth, and the innovation of gold, blocked decorated covers.

In London the West End binders were known for producing sumptously decorated books to suit the taste of their rich clientele; who frequently purchased books as articles of furniture. The books for schools and libraries were in the main bound in the City, being located near to the centre of the book publishing trade. Inevitably the closeness of this proximity was to be influential,and new methods of production were soon to be adopted. To meet the need for economical binding the cheaper work was produced without the commonplace practice of ' lacing-on 'the covering boards to the text block. A cover was now be prepared ' off ' the book. The Binder would then keep the cover in stock until it was required again for what would hopefully be a future repeat order . To some in the trade this ' quick ' and convenient method was frowned upon as being 'shoddy ', and seen in opposition to the sound, quality craftsmanship prevalent at the time.

Cloth was introduced as a covering material for books around 1820. Archibald Leighton's Diamond Classics are representative of books of this period; they were covered with an unfilled calico. The nature of this covering was rough and crude compared to the fine leather in use at the time. It was soon rejected as a substitute - and it was only after bookcloth adopted an appearance similar to that of leather that it became widely used. This enabled cloth to be further processed by the arming press, or as we know it today the embossing machine. This machine could impart a grain on the cloth surface. The first grains produced were so good it was difficult to discriminate between actual skin and the imitation !.The embossing of filled, calendered (polished) cloth was a technique which was to continue for the next seventy years.

In the late 1800's Winterbottom produced a sample book which presented more than fifty distinct patterns; some being more popular than others. Typical pattern names can be attributed to the following approximate dates of production:

1822 -3 Watered Silk
1833 Diaper (Diamond)
1832-5 Tinted,Glazed and Whorl
1836 Fine Ribbed
1840 Ripple
1845 Stripped
1851-5 Marbled
1856-65 Wavy, Bead, Buddle and Herringbone

Research indicates it was as early as 1857 when James Burns started to bind books covered in a cloth with a non-embossed finish. These finishes were termed as ' plain '. Burn's approach was unique at a time when design patterns were the standard. His contemporaries were not
by and large accepting of his alternative methods. Relatively few books were bound before 1900 with an unembossed or smooth finish. Sample books at this time showed two transistional patterns the ' T ' and ' Silk '. Subtle in appearance compared with other finishes they became popular as they were simple enough not to detrimentally impact upon the increasing practice of stamping covers with coloured inks. Many beautiful examples exist of covers produced by this technique in the 1890's. The next logical development was ink stamping onto plain finishes; and this was the direction in the following years.

A plain finish, characteristically smooth, easily lends itself as printing surface. With the advent of the four-colour process in the 1930's, the plain finish soon become the standard medium of expression in book cloth. White cloth was another innovation to facilitate the four-colour offset method for textbooks and illustrated covers. Fine grain cloths were used in quantity up to the begining of the Great War.

In the 1920's for works of non-fiction, straight, cross and sand grain were popular; with linen grain being the choice for fictional titles by publishing companies. Goodall's Canvas Finish started production in 1926.

During the 1930's manufacturers offered an unfinished, starch-filled bookcloth. These products were filled from the reverse side thus leaving the surface textured to the touch. The tactile quality is considered to be a delight. However, their popularity was limited because the penchant for a smooth finish was still in fashion. Regretably, only a few still exist from this period today. Modern textured finish bookcloths are termed as ' natural finish '. Sundour produced a light fast and washable cloth in 1932, commonly known as ' Sundours LF '.

Post 1945 we see more advancements with trade names such as Linson,(a paper based material), PVC coated papers and fabrics which are dimensionally stable making them more than suitable for pre-printing.http://webworksguestbook.co.uk/client/jamesflavell/upload/DSCF0744.JPG

'' OLD AND NEW LONDON: A Narrative of its History, its People, and its Places '', by Walter Thornbury.Published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin. c.1880. Here is an example of a morocco grain cloth case binding finished with gilt, black ink and blind,(i.e. no colour), panel stamped illustration.





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