MONTEFIASCONE SUMMER 2013
29 July-02 August 2013
Re-creating the Medieval Palette
Course Tutor: Cheryl Porter
This class will study the colours (made from rocks, minerals, metals, insects and plants) that were processed to produce the colours used by artists throughout the medieval era. The focus will mostly (though not exclusively) be on manuscript art (Islamic and European) and participants will re-create the colours using original recipes. Illustrated lectures will address the history, geography, chemistry, iconography and conservation issues. Practical making and painting sessions will follow these lectures.
5-9 August 2013
The Syriac Book
Course Tutors: Caroline Checkley-Scott and John Mumford
Manuscript Syriac 27 from the John Rylands Library at Manchester University is known as Abu Halim, from the East Syrian Catholikos (Elia III Abu Halim and others). Though it has an elaborate colophon, stating that the book was made in 1740, this style of binding has remained unchanged and can be found on books from the 7th century AD. With link stitch sewing onto wooden boards, with elaborate end bands extending onto the boards, and with full-thickness leather covers, the books have a most distinctive appearance. Using sample bindings and illustrated with Powerpoint, comparisons will be made with both Christian and Islamic style contemporary bindings.
Some knowledge and experience of bookbinding or book history would be useful, but is not essential. All materials can be supplied (at cost) and participants will need to bring basic bookbinding equipment and tools. Handouts and a reading list will be provided in advance and during the class.
12- 16 August 2013
Course Tutors: Kristine Rose and Alison Ohta
Mamluk bindings represent the pinnacle of Islamic book design. Whilst their structure seems to differ little from the generalised type-II binding described by Deroche, their decoration is refined and complex- a true demonstration of the skill of the accomplished book artists working in Egypt and Syria during the reign of the Mamluk Sultanate between 1250–1516.
During this course participants will make a simple model of an Islamic binding structure, before focusing on the decoration techniques which make these bindings so astounding. This will include geometric design and cold tooling, printed leather doublures, and the application of gold.
19-23 August 2013
Early Gothic Binding (late 13th cent)
Course Tutors: Jim Bloxam and Shaun Thompson.
Manuscript CUL Add. 4080, Preces et Meditationes is a very small scale devotional manuscript. It has been identified as coming from the Cistercian convent of Medingen, near Lüneburg Heath, North Germany. Its exceptional contemporary binding has interesting structural features, including a textile lining and a covering of alum-tawed skin, dyed red, over bevelled oak boards. The binding has the addition of brass fittings and fixtures and intricate blind tooling. The beautifully executed secondary braided endbands are an exquisite early example of a technique which was to continue and become widely used in Northern European bindings of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. As part of this manuscript’s binding they are an important element both structurally and aesthetically.
The tutors will enable the course participants to recreate the binding. Processes will include sewing the text-block, sewing primary and secondary endbands, shaping and attaching the boards and covering with alum-tawed skin. The skins will be stained red prior to covering using the appropriate materials and techniques. The covered books will be tooled and have brass fittings and fixtures applied. Complementing the practical aspect of the course the tutors will seek to set the binding into context. The course will give an over-view of Gothic binding structures and examine previous influences on its evolution and how it, in turn, influenced later bindings, concentrating on Northern European bindings in particular. The use of pigments for staining skins will be explored with pigment specialist Cheryl Porter.
Cheryl Porter has been Director of the Montefiascone Project since its inception in 1988. After graduating from Camberwell College (University of the Arts, London) she worked at University College London Paintings Analysis Unit, analysing the use of pigments in paintings and manuscripts. From 1992-2006 she worked as a freelance conservator, mostly for universities and learned institutions. She was Manager of Conservation and Preservation at the Dar al-Kutub (National Library and Archivesof Egypt) and Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation 2007-2010 and is currently employed as a Consultant for a number of institutions with book, papyrus and manuscript collections in Egypt. She has published many articles concerning colour in manuscripts and has lectured in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and throughout Europe.
Caroline Checkley-Scott is currently Collection Care Manager at the University of Manchester Library. She also co-runs the Centre of Heritage Imaging and Collection Care(CHICC). Her research interests include the conservation of early Christian manuscripts from the Middle East, particularly the Syriac book, the Biccherne di Siena and the DNA of parchment. Caroline was formerly Head of Conservation at the Wellcome Library, and before that worked at the British Library. She teaches on the History of the Book Course at Manchester. She has lectured both nationally and internationally and has acted as consultant for the National Library of Egypt, Cairo.
John Mumford is the currently Head of Manuscript Conservation at the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation; he was formerly Head of Book Conservation at the British Library with a strong background in historic book conservation. John served a five year apprenticeship at the British Museum and subsequently helped establish the Rare and Early Book Conservation Studio at the British Library. In 1992 he was appointed manager of the Oriental and India Office Book Conservation Studio, furthering his study of early Oriental and Eastern binding structures. In 1998 he became manager of the Oriental and Eastern Book Conservation Studio at the new BritishLibrary at St Pancras. He has taught at the London College of Printing, The Colchester Institute, as well as undertaking many workshops in the UK and abroad.
Kristine Rose ACR is Conservator of Manuscripts and Printed Books (Assistant Keeper) at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Her research interests include the conservation of Islamic manuscript material, early binding structures and the use of pigments and dyes in medieval manuscripts.
Between 2008- 2001 Kristine worked at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin with a particular focus on the Turkish collections. Prior to this she was a Conservator at Cambridge University Library where she worked on a wide range of conservation projects including Islamic and Western rare book and manuscript material. Kristine has a degree in Conservation from Camberwell College of Arts and is an accredited member of ICON.
Alison Ohta Director of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and she is a representative of the Islamic manuscript association. Her interests include Islamic manuscripts and their bindings, their conservation and collection. She obtained her PhD at SOAS university of London with a thesis on Mamluk manuscript bindings.
Jim Bloxam, Head of Conservation, Cambridge University Library, UK. Jim is an Accredited Conservator of the Institute of Conservation. His particular research interests lie mainly in the history of books; their structural qualities and their cultural context. He has taught historical book structures in the UK, Europe and the US, focusing mainly on Romanesque and Gothic book structures.
Shaun Thompson is a bench trained bookbinder with twenty-five years’ experience. He has worked at Cambridge University Library since 2003. During this time Shaun has taken the opportunity to examine and recreate some of the medieval bindings within the library. He has sought to share his knowledge and skills by teaching a number of practical workshops in the UK. Winner of last year’s Nicholas Hadgraft Scholarship, Shaun is looking forward to returning to Montefiascone to share his ever widening knowledge and experience.
The cost of the classes is: 445 British pounds per week and includes all tuition (which is in English) and (some) materials. The Montefiascone Project is a not-for-profit organization, and all extra monies are used to finance the cataloguing and the conservation and preservation of the collection.
For further information or to register for one week or more, please contact Cheryl Porter: firstname.lastname@example.org.