I suppose everyone has been more than once in places filled with books, whether it was a library, a bookshop, someone’s office etc. A room full of books is always a nice place to be, make it big with leather bindings from different periods on all the shelves and you’ve got a small heaven! But how many times have you been in a room occupied by just one book?!
That is the case at my workshop these days. I was asked to restore a Gospel book from the begginings of 1800 printed in Venetia. I took it and did a close examination. There are -in general- two kinds of damage a book might have gone through- physical and chemical. In the first case we’re talking about torned pages,missing edges,scars,vermin attacks and all the things that happen by continuous use,knockings,being carried around and many more. In the second case it might be edges darkened by sun light,moisture altering the paper,mildew and everything that has to do with insufficient protection from the elements of nature.
This book had most of these, including edges gnawed off by mice! But the most basic problem was the mildew that has settled in. The book gives away an awful smell and it would not be wise to go away with the repairs without a minimum done for this matter. So I took the book apart in sections and hang em in an empty room used for storage and hopefully good ventilation and light will do their work, as is often advised by curators and conservators.The pages will stay there for some time and will be rotated so that each side gets a fair share of (not direct) sunlight.
While looking at the room the phrase “a room full of…book!” struck me as funny alongside with the view so I thought to share it!