More than a new French dress for Mrs. Elliott

This lovely book, Mrs Elliott’s Journal, came for help to put her spine back together from three pieces barely holding, her covers back on, corners smoothed and straightened, endcaps reconstructed, … and for a new dress. This is how it came together.

Book repair Mrs Elliott APR2018, stage 1

Taking the old cover papers off was a priority, and though I hesitated at first to remove the original, I couldn’t deny that the existing cover paper (also not original) were dull, heavily masculine and not at all harmonious with the content of this fascinating memoir.ย  To remove it, I used a plastic cover and a poultice – gently humidifying the animal glue beneath and lifting gently away. One of them was subsequently flattened and kept as an artefact of the book.

Book repair Mrs Elliott APR2018, stage 2

Reattaching the cover with linen sutures, and some meticulous retouching of marble endpapers that were scarred from removal of evil sticky tape in it’s past. Slooooow work, but so worth it.ย  The heavy pencil mark on the cover is the original binder hastily marking the front –ย  I love these connections to binders past – it cements my contribution to this book and to the history of my trade.

Book repair Mrs Elliott APR2018, stage 3

Covers back on, and patient reconstruction of caps begin… my bindery intern vigilant and attentive as ever – he blends into the colours of the floor, and occasionally twitches as the adventures of bunny dreams fill the room ๐Ÿ˜‰

Book repair Mrs Elliott APR2018, stage 4

Rebuilding the headcap from torn and lost, the split spine bands, the tailcap scuffed from sliding along the shelf, and giving her some dignity with gold tooling touches and some black in the losses. It’s not about making an old book look new.. can’t see the point.. her travels, history and longevity is what makes this book so special – why deny it?ย  It is just a little hair colour, polished shoes and pearls, is all ๐Ÿ˜‰

Book repair Mrs Elliott APR2018, stage 5

…and a new red dress, in a French peacock marble;ย  a little flair reserved for private viewing – not visible on the shelf.ย  Mrs Elliott’s experiences during the French Revolution would have required a little private flair, and public restraint. It is so with her book. A new matt black non-adhesive conservation slipcase is just the ticket.

Book repair Mrs Elliott APR2018, stage 6

More on that slipcase very soon – it is the ‘Sago slipcase’ – non-adhesive, custom, archival and easy to make.

Love your books, folks.

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