Book Restoration: Family Bible, 1817

 Family Bible before and after conservation treatment.

Family Bible before and after conservation treatment.

Book and Paper Conservation Services is frequently contacted about restoring family bibles that have seen years of wear over many generations. These items are of great sentimental value to the owners, often containing inscriptions by ancestors and records of births, deaths and marriages. While their market value might be insignificant, the sentimental importance can easily justify the cost of conservation of family heirlooms, and we treat them with just as much care and professionalism as fine art conserved for museums and galleries. 

 The family bible in damaged condition - boards are off, joints are ragged, and previous repairs have punctured the covers.

The family bible in damaged condition - boards are off, joints are ragged, and previous repairs have punctured the covers.

This Holy Bible, published 1817, recently came through our studio for repair. With years of use, the boards had become detached and the endpapers and preliminary pages suffered tears, creases and surface dirt. 

 Inside the book, the free front endpaper was detached, creased and torn.

Inside the book, the free front endpaper was detached, creased and torn.

 Surface cleaning grime from the Bible's title page.

Surface cleaning grime from the Bible's title page.

 Preparing to do paper repairs on the detached front end paper.

Preparing to do paper repairs on the detached front end paper.

Restoring a book like this involves many steps, including surface cleaning the pages, paper repair of the endpapers and preliminary pages, repair/replacement of endbands, reattaching the boards, and rebacking the spine with new leather to repair the board joints. It's a very time-consuming process, but extremely satisfying to see the book restored to a stable and usable state at the end of the treatment.

 The original spine is removed in preparation for reattaching the boards.

The original spine is removed in preparation for reattaching the boards.

 Sewing a new silk thread endband in sympathetic colours.

Sewing a new silk thread endband in sympathetic colours.

 Sizing up the repair leather to fit around the spine of the book.

Sizing up the repair leather to fit around the spine of the book.

 The repair leather is adhered to the spine.

The repair leather is adhered to the spine.

 The finished Bible is solid and usable once again. In its restored state it is an attractive volume that holds great sentimental value to the owner's family. Book and Paper Conservation Services is pleased to have preserved this family heirloom for many more generations to appreciate.

 1817 Holy Bible after conservation treatment.

1817 Holy Bible after conservation treatment.

 The endpapers have been repaired and reattached.

The endpapers have been repaired and reattached.

If you have family heirlooms like bibles, albums or photographs that you are interested in having restored, don't hesitate to get in touch with our studio. There is no charge for an estimate and we are happy to work on projects both big and small. Take a look through our gallery of rare book conservation treatments as well!