Friday, 26 August 2011

Grey Hedgehog.

I've just had a pleasant shock.

I've posted a couple of times about a restoration I did on a well loved King James Bible from the 1600's?

It was a pleasure and a real labour of love. Had to be. I didn't charge, on principle. There are some things that you have to do, just because you have to.

Of course, I did my research, and took the date on the intro with a pinch of salt. These things were copied, often from necessity because of the social/political and most of all religious climate of the time.

Then there are good old-fashioned forgeries over 400 years that are actually quite valuable in their own right. But I concentrated on the handwritten annotations and and births, deaths and other bits of family history jotted, in often beautiful handwriting, to authenticate it.

Having decided it was probably an early edition, and decided it was ok to do some preservative work - one mustn't get restore (a preservative process) mixed up with renovate (attempt to bring back to standard, which can be destructive) I did what I felt I must. It is archaeology after all.

There was only one condition. No fibs. Well, that's the polite version. I presented it back to the owners with a bit bit of legalise that must be presented if it was to be authenticated by those wiser than I, or sold.

The shock? In May this year it was the 400th anniversary of The King James Bible.

I'd decided it was from mid-to-late 1600's. Turns out there were about 200 known surviving versions of the original 1611 version. You can add one to that I hope. I'm told my work has been described as "thoughtful and loving, that took nothing away"

It'll remain with the family, the ancestors of the original owners, along with a modern family bible that will continue containing the tradition of notes, annotations, births and other family history, continuing 400 years of history. How cool is that? :)

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I mean, wow....


Elizabeth said...

Wow, that's fantastic. Well done.

I have a large family Bible that I bought in Beverley Oxfam for £4.00 - just Victorian I suppose, but it just broke my heart to see it there. Excellent condition apart from the leather splitting a couple of inch on the spine where it has dried out. x

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Well done sir.

Wheelie said...

Victorian takes it back to 1901 at the latest - hang on, I need to take at least one sock off for this one....

110 years old? That's about twice as old as I am :)

I'm assuming a leather spine.

Don't try to repair the split. Do a Beckham on it.

If you have some oil of Ulay, or if your quite ancient, Olay, rub some of that on it about once a month.

Nivia hand cream is also quite good.

My favorite is a few drops of virgin olive oil, ground with sage or lavender (sage/lavender is anti-bacterial), covered with cling film for a few days and wiped off will do the job.

It's quite therapeutic :)

Most cover spine splits, paper or leather, happen in the middle at the top or bottom edge.

Rather than try to repair such a split, open the book and place it pages down on a clean surface.

You'll find that the spine will round upwards, lift and roughly close the gap. Take a little gauze bandage the length of the split, and soak it in a thick paste of flour and water - not too wet.

Gently tease it under the bowed spine cover, pressing upwards, and leave it to dry for a couple of days.

If it's not a valuable book (value being subjective)it may help to poke a hole at the very top of the split with a darning needle before a reinforcing it. That'll prevent the split travelling.

Tip :- That poke also works with plastic too - eg, freezer drawers, plant pots, DVD Cases.... :)

Wheelie said...

Thanks everyone. I'm a bit chuffed too :)

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for that, Drew; you're a mine of information. I DO remember when Ulay was Olay ... and when Cif was Jif, Snickers were Marathon, Opal Fruits were made to make your mouth water and Wagon Wheels came in yellow packets and were as big as tea plates! x

Wheelie said...

That smell of Olay has always has always stuck with me for some odd reason.

Had a bit of a 'Dell Boy' mate who in the 70's found himself jobs with cosmetic companies and was fired, complete with salesman samples.

He always smelled of the stuff :)