case studies
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CUSTOM-MADE PORTFOLIO
The finished portfolio Angela Sutton was asked to make a large portfolio to contain some ancient maps.  It was not to be stored flat but to stand upright in a library.  The largest map measured 1050mm by 750mm  (3’5” x 2’6”) and this needed the largest board available.  The spine cover and flaps were covered with library buckram and the rest of the boards with a hand-marbled paper by Jemma Lewis.  The client had requested gussets at the side along with the normal side flaps, and these were held in place with tasselled ties.  As the portfolio was to stand upright on its spine this was strengthened with a strip of board and the foredge closed with a matching board. 
WORKS OF ATHANASIUS

This was a seventeenth-century book that had lost its back.  The boards were loose, with damaged corners, and the front pages were dirty and torn at the edges.

Treatment was as follows: the edges of the pages were brushed (out of doors) to remove loose dust and dirt.  The front four pages were cleaned of loose dirt, washed in cold water, resized with gelatine size and repaired with a Japanese tissue. 

The stitching was so weak that the book had to be resewn.  The sections consisted of two folds only so the sewing was ‘three-on’ (three sections together).  The endpapers were replaced with a handmade paper from Griffen Mill which matched the texture and colour of the original paper as closely as possible.  The board corners were built up using leather parings mixed with paste and re-covered with leather.  The back was replaced with a new piece of leather and the boards reattached.  The spine was then tooled with the title and decoration in keeping with the period.

Works of Athanasius - after

Works of Athanasius - before

Works of Athanasius - before

Works of Athanasius - after

The floods of 2007 caused damage to all kinds of property, and not only buildings.  Angela Sutton was asked to repair and rebind some valuable books that had become wet and then been left in a box, which meant that mould had flourished.  This had destroyed some of the covers which had to be replaced entirely but parts were retained where possible. 

THE CANTERBURY TALES

This was a Folio Society edition of the Canterbury Tales and so had been nicely produced.  The spine was a leatherette material and the siding a tough bookcloth known as ‘crash’ canvas. 

The text block inside was relatively undamaged, apart from a few pages which had been turned pink by mould. Angela Sutton cut the spine away from the cover as it would be usable.

The inside of the book responded well to several days’ worth of pressing, except for the water-damaged area.  The spine was replaced with a similar-coloured bookcloth and the sides with new crash canvas.  The spine strip with lettering was cut out and re-glued to the spine, thus making a link to the original binding.

Canterbury Tales - after

Canterbury Tales - before

Canterbury Tales - after

GONE WITH THE WIND

Gone with the Wind - before

Gone with the Wind - after

This book was severely damaged by floodwater followed by mould and as it was not particularly valuable, advice normally would have been to replace it with a new copy.  However, it had been given to the owner’s mother by a friend, and there was an inscription the owner wished to keep so its sentimental value was considerable. 

The cover was unsalvageable, so the book was rebound in a cloth case-binding of the same colour as the original.  Although the area with the title was so fragile and friable that it did not look very tidy when glued on, the owner wished to keep it as a link to the past. 

Gone with the Wind - after

SCRAPBOOK

The boards of this book were warped and flood-damaged but the owner wished to retain the outer cover.  The outer cover paper was carefully detached, supported by a layer of the original board. The original spine strip had been blue so a new case was made in this colour and the outer cover paper re-glued in place. 

Scrapbook - after

Scrapbook - before

One difficulty was that the cat’s eyes were pieces of glass which stood out from the cover. So, before pressing, a board had to be cut out to fit round the eyes to protect them.  The inner pages were pressed to flatten them as much as was practicable without damaging the items glued on to them. Some of these had floated off; these were rescued and re-glued in place.  The pages were guarded and resewn.

MODERN FARRIERY

Modern Farriery - before

Modern Farriery - before

Modern Farriery - after

This book is something of a collector’s item and is fairly valuable.  The mould was at such an advanced stage that the cover and the endpapers were taken off at once and disposed of.  There was some mould damage to the inner pages, so the mould was brushed off each page and the book stood up open to dry off completely. 

After the book had been pressed for a few days it was ready for rebinding.  The endpapers were of a type that matched the original and new boards were attached to the book.  The headbands were resewn and the leather and bookcloth chosen to be as near the original as possible. 

Although it was impossible to copy the spine tooling exactly, the patterns of the raised bands, the lines across the spine, the lettering and the large central tool design followed the original style.

Modern Farriery - after

Modern Farriery - after

RARE AND BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

The owner is an accomplished pianist and was worried that it was not possible to salvage these four volumes, as some of the music is now unavailable. 

The covers were beyond rescue, but the inner pages were usable, despite some discolouring due to mould.  The pages were brushed and the books stood up to dry thoroughly before pressing. The covers were remade in a suitable colour and the titles retooled. 

The books are now back in use.

Rare and Beautiful Music - after

Rare and Beautiful Music - after

Rare and Beautiful Music - before

Rare and Beautiful Music - before

Rare and Beautiful Music - after

Not all repair work is as dramatic as the flood-damaged books described above.  Very often a book has broken in half, or the spine has come off.  Usually it is possible to retain most of the original binding with perhaps new hinges in material that blends in well.

THE BIBLE
Bible - after

This book had split down the spine and was in two pieces.  The spine leather was so thin that the sewing threads were showing through it and it was disintegrating.  It was removed carefully so as not to damage the sewing, which, apart from the break, was sound. 

Bible - before

New tapes were put across the back and the spine sewn back together.  The owner wished the repair to be as economical as possible so a black buckram was used for the spine and inserted under the leather of the original cover boards.  A new tooled label was applied and the scuffed areas of the old cover touched in and polished.

THE LONDON MAGAZINE

The covers were very battered and the owner wanted a new binding which would not be an exact reproduction of the period but would reflect the contemporary style of the late eighteenth century.  The leather was brown and the marbled paper of a type that echoed that style. The endpapers were made from a handmade paper which matched the inner pages.

London Magazine - before

London Magazine - after

London Magazine - before

London Magazine - after

THE ILIAD
Iliad - after

The owner of these two volumes wanted to have them rebound because the covers were worn and he felt they were worth more than a simple case-binding.  He intended to keep them and read them, and he wanted to be able to open and use a real leather binding when he did so.  He took a strong interest in the progress of the books and watched the various stages keenly. 

Iliad - before

The covers were removed and the books sewn on raised cords with new endpapers.  New boards were laced on, new headbands stitched, and the books covered in full dark red leather. 

CULPEPER'S HERBAL

This volume is missing several pages and is thus not of any great value but it is an interesting book.  The green of the spine leather and the siding paper is for the green plants of the herbal and the red lines represent blood, thus combining the idea of plants and the human body.

Culpeper's Herbal - after
HOOKER'S WORKS

Hooker's Works - before

Hooker's Works - after

The condition of this book was very poor and it was given to Angela Sutton as a challenge.  The pages were all dry-cleaned, washed and resized to strengthen the paper and then repaired where necessary with Japanese tissue paper.  After pressing the book was resewn and bound with a leather spine and crash canvas side material. 

Hooker's Works - after

Hooker's Works - after

ORLANDO FURIOSO

This set of eight books was in loose paper covers and had never been bound.  There is no date on it but it is probably late eighteenth century.  It was bound in two colours of leather, as Angela Sutton felt it was more interesting than just one, and followed the style called the ‘millimetre binding’. 

This is a style that uses a minimum of leather; the spine leather only overlaps on to the board by a millimetre (or very slightly more) and the corners are as small as is practicable.  The marbled red paper was made by the late Ann Muir, who when sent a piece of the green leather made up the green marbled paper to match the pattern of the red.  The box holds the set together. 

Orlando Furioso - after
WINNIE WOMBAT
Winnie Wombat - before

This book had been particularly badly damaged by water, with staining and lifting of the covers. Several pages were loose and torn. The page edges were repaired with tissue and the sections sewn back together. The cover was replaced and the original title retained.

Winnie Wombat - after

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