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Richard Nichols: Conservation of a Medieval Psalter

September 12 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm


How to rebind a precious medieval book that has been badly bound and what you discover in the process. With Richard Nichols, an independent book conservator, who has spent 44 years working in Archive Services and Record Offices

This talk will give a fascinating insight into the world of book repair and conservation from a top practitioner in the field. The beautiful medieval psalter, written on full thickness parchment and decorated with illuminated and coloured initial letters had fallen into a very poor condition: the boards were detached, and the sewing structure was brittle, and so constricting that it was difficult to open. When open the pages would simply stick up in the air with no drape or flow. The volume had been rebound in the early nineteenth century in blind tooled calf leather over millboard.

During the rebind the leaves were trimmed to such an extent that the margins were lost and many illuminations cut into. To make matters worse the book had been vandalised over the following two hundred years by cutting out many of the gold illuminated letters and some of the remaining parchment margins. The nineteenth century binding was inappropriate, as originally the book would have been bound in wooden boards and covered with alum tawed skin. Richard’s illustrated talk will explain and describe the task of repairing the parchment leaves of this precious book, re-sewing and rebinding it closer to its original style.

More information and booking details on the Portico website: https://www.theportico.org.uk/event-calendar/conservation-of-a-medieval-psalter

This talk is part of the region’s 50th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Society of Bookbinders in Manchester in 1974.


September 12
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Event Category:


The Portico Library
57 Mosely St
Manchester, M2 3HY United Kingdom
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