Special Collections

Conserving a botany book through BeFriend a Book

The conservation of Elizabeth Twining’s Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants, 1868  sponsored by Professor Michael Slater in memory of his friend, John Grigg has now been completed. The two volume set  was bound using caoutchouc, a natural rubber, also known as gutta percha.  An earlier blog explained how readily this adhesive breaks down and the problems these bindings pose for conservation. The quarter leather case of the binding was sound but the single leaves of the text block broke away every time the book was opened.
15 Sep 2014
Angela Craft

London Rare Books School 2014

The London Rare Books School is upon us, and once again we are busy delivering books and manuscripts to classes and witnessing the value of our holdings for teaching purposes, from the demonstration of press figures (numbers used by eighteenth-century English printers to keep a tally of their work) to samples of private press books and to various kinds of binding.
3 Jul 2014
Dr Karen Attar

BeFriend a Book sponsors the conservation of a botany book in memory of John Grigg, a passionate Linnean, who loved books and the natural world.

Professor Michael Slater, seen below with the book, Elizabeth Twining’s Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants, wanted to celebrate the life of his close friend, John Grigg. Michael chose to sponsor the conservation of a book that reflected John’s interests in taxonomy and books.                      
12 Jun 2014
Angela Craft

EPCOM: another cataloguing milestone

Recently we reported the online cataloguing of the Austin Dobson Collection. Now another complete collection has been catalogued online, the so-called EPCOM Collection. In the library since the late 1940s, it is named after the Enemy Publications Committee, which made German academic books available in Great Britain after the War.
9 Jun 2014
Dr Karen Attar

Pexe Nicolao, a Seventeenth Century Merman

One of the few foreign language items in our exhibition is the anonymous work Relacion de como el pexe Nicolao agora se ha aparecido de nueuo en la mar (Salamanca, 1608), from our Eliot-Phelips Collection. The central character of this little pamphlet in Spanish verse is Pexe Nicolao, the half-man half-fish so strikingly depicted in the simple woodcut on the title page. The story of this legendary merman was well known in Spain at the time and Pexe Nicolao is even mentioned in Don Quixote de la Mancha (Part 2, chapter 18).
3 Jun 2014
Julio Cazzasa