It’s May 29th: Restoration Day (in the past a public holiday) – or more popularly Oak Apple Day, in tribute to the colourful account of the future Charles II escaping from the Parliamentarians after the Battle of Worcester by hiding in an oak tree. While not all book/paper conservators will necessarily celebrate the restoration of Charles and the monarchy after the Interregnum we do like an oak gall or oak apple, or anything to do with ink! In case you didn’t know oak galls (and other galls) were used to make the standard/common ink used in Europe from the first millennium till the 19th century.
During our walks and breaks we’ve found quite a few examples of oak galls of different sorts, and even a live gall wasp.
The Woodland Trust has put together a good identification guide:
And the Chantry Library has Edward T. Connold’s 1908 classic British Oak Galls, gifted to the library in 2018. Connold, an amateur scientist who earned his living as a grocer, is credited with discovering new galls e.g. on plant roots, and wrote various other volumes on the subject. His plant gall collection was left to the Hastings Museum.
Being locked down presents the chance to get round to some interesting items on your “to do” list – in the Chantry Library that means cataloguing some of the more obscure titles that have come the Library’s way over the years. This short blog post is about one such volume, originating in Zagreb.
One reason it might have waited to be processed is the language – Croatian! Not one your librarian is familiar with, but with Google Translate an attempt has been made (fingers crossed).
Following in quick succession to February’s post about the subject bibliography on woven fabrics and last month’s on Islamic slipcases we can present the fifth in our series of Chantry Library Subject Bibiographies. This one covers enamalled metals, and has been compiled by Dana Norris – a long-standing supporter of the Library. The current chair of the Icon Ceramics & Glass group, Dana is an active conservator as well as a researcher, completing a doctoral project focused on Chinese enamels on metal, in particular the technology and conservation of Chinese painted enamels. Her bibliography, however, ranges beyond that focus. So if you want to save time getting in to the conservation of enamelled metals this is a great place to start. The bibliography itself can be found at this link. We are very grateful to Dana for putting it together in the latter stages of her research degree – many thanks!
While the library is closed in accordance with government Covid19 guidelines, the staff and wider OCC team are still very active. The Chantry Library recently published the fourth in its series of specialist subject bibliographies. The latest bibliography is by David Plummer, an MA graduate from the book conservation pathway at West Dean College. David has a particular interest in book cultures from, or associated with, the Islamicate cultural world. It was this interest which led him to conduct a research project on the history and diversity of Islamic slip-cases, a form of protective book storage which was popular in many regions of the Islamicate world. This research project was supported by the Frederick Bearman Research Grant which enabled David to conduct field research in libraries ranging from Sarajevo to Manchester. A brief insight into this primary research can be found here.
David gave a lecture summarising his research at the annual Frederick Bearman memorial evening which took place on 11th December 2019 at the Royal Asiatic Society in London. During this lecture, David discussed the visual and textual evidence for slipcases before delving into the nature of his survey. Whilst providing an insight into the variations between slipcases, David was keen to stress the need for a more expansive survey in order to arrive at a more complete understanding. The lecture also included wonderful images of historic slipcases, including some superb examples of decorated papers.
A more detailed version of David’s research will be published in a forthcoming article co-authored by Dr Karin Scheper, a renowned expert in Islamicate bindings. In the meantime, the Chantry Library would like to present a recently published annotated bibliography, in which David overviews a selection of books and articles relating to Islamic slipcases. A number of the books listed by David date back to the 19th century and this is testament to the depth of his research.
Our third, new subject bibliography has just been posted on the use of woven fabrics in the conservation of books.
The bibliography has been produced by two of the Oxford Conservation Consortium’s own conservators, Celia Bockmuehl and Nikki Tomkins (pictured above). It emerged from a collaborative research project undertaken by OCC with Bodleian Conservation and Collection Care and material scientists at Cranfield University. The project was prompted by the main supplier of fabrics for conservation ceasing production in 2007. Its purpose was to test the material properties of the fabrics used for book conservation.
The research investigated the strength and durability of aerolinen and aerocotton, comparing different suppliers, warp weft and bias orientation of the fabric, and the effect of laundering on the fabric. Tests conducted measured mass per unit area, thickness, sett, tensile strength, folding endurance, and dimensional change.
The project’s findings were presented at the Icon Conference 2019, the International IADA Conference 2019 in Warsaw, and more locally for Oxford Conservators’ Group. More details can be found in the full project write up, which will appear in a forthcoming number of Studies in conservation, and has already been published online at this DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2019.1672442
You can find Celia and Nikki’s bibliography by following this link.
Welcome to 2020 – and still in a (slightly) festive mindframe our first blog of the year will celebrate a further donation of books from a great supporter of the Library, David Pinniger.
A major contributer to the field of Integrated Pest Management, the Library already has a number of David Pinniger’s books, as well as a his very substantial collection of offprints on the subject. Most of these are listed on his bibliographic Database of IPM references. So if you are interested in any of the titles listed there and cannot find them please ask!
The database can be found on the What’s eating your collection website. The site also has a tool to help identity the insects found in the blunder traps readers hopefully have dotted around their library, archive, or museum.
David Pinniger’s latest donation includes a volume by him:
It also includes preprints from the 23rd International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property from Tokyo 1999 about IPM in Asia “Meeting the Montreal protocol”, as well as a report from 2002 on the international course on conserving Japanese paper.
Just a very short blog post to flag the fact that our staffed hours have changed from Thursday morning to Tuesday afternoons, 1400-1800. All are welcome to visit to consult our collections, just contact us to arrange an appointment! Our details are here.