Spine replacement on an early 19th century book

dancesofdeath_idphoto
Dances of Death
  • Date: January 1, 2009
  • Conservator: Suzy Morgan
  • Call Number/Collection: Special Collections, Northwestern University Library
  • Author: Hans Holbein
  • Imprint: London, 1803
  • Title: Dances of Death
  • Dimensions (binding): 20.7 H x 16.4 W x 1.8 T (cm)
Before Treatment

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Front, spine view

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Back, spine view

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Front, fore-edge

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Back, fore-edge

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Detached front board

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Detached back board

After Treatment

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Front, spine view

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Back, spine view

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Front, fore-edge

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Back, fore-edge

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Opening

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Reattached front board

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Reattached back board

Treatment Report
CONDITION AND DESCRIPTION SUMMARY

Description

This is a case binding covered with a green bookcloth, with the title stamped in gold on the front board and spine. The textblock is a thick, machine-made pulpy white paper. The text has been printed with black printer’s ink and there is no type impression. There is a binder’s ticket that reads “Fogarty’s, Port Elizabeth” on the back pastedown.

Condition

Both boards are detached. The spine leather is missing except for small patch. The spine linings are split. There are 3 pieces of cellophane tape present on each board from a previous repair attempt. The board edges are abraded. The leather is skinned on the corners and in places on the boards.

PHOTOGRAPHY

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Before Treatment:
Before Treatment
Before Treatment

After Treatment:
Before Treatment
Before Treatment

TREATMENT PROPOSAL
  • Remove tape from boards.
  • Clean and re-line spine using an overhanging lining.
  • Dry-clean the textblock where necessary.
  • Rehinge on loose pages at front and back.
  • Remove leather from board edges and remake spine with a double-layer of moriki tissue.
  • Recase using overhanging spine lining.
  • Mask gap at inner hinges using a strip of thin tissue.
TREATMENT PERFORMED
  1. The adhesive tape was removed from both boards using a combination of mechanical and solvent-assisted removal using ethanol.
  2. The spine was cleaned using a poultice of methyl cellulose.
  3. The loose front flyleaf and first 5 pages were reattached to the textblock with thin tissue hinges applied with wheat-starch paste.
  4. Two overhanging spine linings were adhered with wheat-starch paste.
  5. The decaying leather was removed mechanically from the spine-edge of both boards.
  6. The outermost spine lining was adhered ontop of the boards to reattach them to the textblock.
  7. A double-thickness of toned Moriki tissue was then used to replace the original spine leather. The turn-in tabs were slipped under the original paste-down.
  8. The inner tissue spine lining was then pasted onto the inside of the boards and under the edge of the original paste-downs, to hide the exposed board at the hinge. The paste-downs were then glued back down with wheat starch paste.
  9. The corners were built up with 20pt board and toned moriki tissue applied with a combination of PVA and wheat starch paste.
  10. The moriki tissue on the spine and corners was coated with a mixture of Klucel G and SC-6000 consolidant, then burnished with a bone folder.
  11. A plastic Colibri cover was placed on the book to protect the boards from further abrasion.

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