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[BKARTS] Montefiascone Project 2005 -- course announcement

posted on behalf of Cheryl Porter, Director of the Montefiascone Project:



Montefiascone is a small medieval walled city about 100 k (80 miles) north of Rome, on Lake Bolsena. Since 1988, conservators and others interested in books and their history have come together to work, to learn and to enjoy this special place. Participants come to enjoy the medieval architecture, friendly people, a clean accessible lake, books and scholarship. The Montefiascone Project is a non-profit making organisation, set up to fund the restoration of the Library of the Seminario Barbarigo in Montefiascone.

Courses for summer 2005:

Week I 25-29 July

Re-creating the Medieval Palette

Through illustrated lectures, participants will examine the story of colour in medieval times. The course will address the history, geography, chemistry, iconographic importance and the actual techniques of colour manufacture, with special reference to manuscript painting. Using original recipes, each participant will make and paint out the colours. No previous experience is necessary.

Course tutor: Cheryl Porter

Week 2 1-5 August

Historic Album Structures

Throughout history the construction of photo albums has presented interesting challenges to book binders. Albums draw on basic book structures for construction, but must be altered to accommodate the photographs. The addition of photographs can set up complex mechanical interactions between the parts of an album and its photographs as the pages are being turned. Examination of structures used in nineteenth and twentieth century albums offers inspiration and insight for the construction of contemporary albums. The way the paper flexes, the way the photos or other additions are attached to a page, and the technique used for the leaf attachment influence how well an album works to display its contents. Participants will study various components and structures used in historic photo albums to inspire contemporary methods for adding materials to the book format. Participants will make models of the guarded leaf structure used for carte-de-visites and cabinet card albums.

Course tutor: Olivia Primanis

Week 3 8-12 August

The Conservation and Repair and binding of Parchment Manuscripts

This week?s practical course will cover the selection and preparation of materials for the flange repair of degraded membrane. Teaching will include slides of work undertaken by Antony Cains on the Ellesmere Chaucer (at the Huntington Library) and other manuscripts.

Course tutor: Tony Cains

Maximum class number:10

Week 4 15-19 August

The Stonyhurst Gospel

This course will enable participants to make their own book, based on the St Cuthbert Gospel of St John, known as the Stonyhurst Gospel and ascribed to the end of the seventh century. It miraculously retained its original binding, being buried in the coffin of the Bishop of Lindisfarne, Northumbria.

Through a series of lectures with slides, PowerPoint presentations and practical demonstrations, it is hoped that the student will gain an initial understanding of the construction of this remarkable little book. The binding process will include sewing, board preparation, endbanding, covering and surface decoration. All of the necessary materials required for making the book will be provided. Participants will be required to bring some basic bookbinding hand tools. Some knowledge of bookbinding is desirable, but not essential. The course will be of interest to bookbinders, conservators, design binders and those interested in the history of the book.

Course tutors: Jim Bloxam and Kristine Rose

Maximum class number: 10


Cheryl Porter was trained in conservation of books and archives at Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts. After graduating, she worked with the Paintings Analysis Unit at University College London, and it was here she began to work with a Leverhulme-funded project using Laser Raman Spectroscopy to analyse pigments in manuscripts. From 1992 she has worked as a freelance conservator, until recently, with Dr Nicholas Hadgraft. She has published many articles on pigments and manuscripts and has taught and lectured in the USA, Australia and many countries in Europe. Since 1988, in conjunction with Nicolas Barker and the local priests, she has organised and co-ordinated the restoration of the Cardinal Barbarigo Seminary Library in Montefiascone.

Olivia Primanis was apprentice-trained in bookbinding and conservation by Jean Gunner at Hunt institute, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Pa., where, in 1975, she opened ?The Bookbinder? an art and bookbinding supply shop. When she moved to Los Angeles, she continued a private practice in book conservation and teaching bookbinding. Since 1990, she has worked as a book conservator at the Harry ransom Humanities Research Centre, Austin Texas.

Anthony Cains was apprenticed to the London trade bookbinder EA Neale Ltd (1954) and studied at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts. He was awarded various prizes, including the Harrison Memorial Prize in 1957. He studied under many distinguished bookbinders including Bernard Middleton and the late William Matthews, who subsequently recommended him to Dr Sidney Cockerell at Lechworth (1961-5). He worked for a short time in the HMSO British Museum Bindery (1965) before establishing his own workshop at St Albans. He volunteered for salvage work in Florence following the flood in November 1966 and was later appointed Technical Director of the conservation system set up at the Biblioteca Nationale Centrale and to the Committee to rescue Italian Art (USA) 1967-72. In 1972 he was invited to design and establish a workshop and laboratory in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. He has contributed articles to The Paper Conservator and the New Bookbinder, and taught and lectured in Ireland and the UK, the USA and Australia.

Jim Bloxam is Senior Book Conservator in the Conservation Department at the Cambridge University Library, working on early printed books, manuscripts and archives. He is an Accredited Conservator/Restorer of the Institute of Paper Conservation and has an Honours degree (First Class) in Art History. His particular research interest lies mainly in the history of books; their structural qualities and cultural context.

Kristine Rose graduated from Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts BA (Hons) Conservation course in 2002. Since graduating she has been employed by Cambridge University Library, where she has worked on a variety of manuscript material. She has also worked as a volunteer on the Montefiascone Library Project for the past five years.

Costs: £345 UKP ($640 US. 495 euros) per week for all tuition (which is in English)

Scholarship: The Nicholas Hadgraft Montefiascone Scholarship is a new award from Conservation-by-Design. The successful applicant will be offered £1000 (UKP)

towards tuition and accommodation for the Montefiascone course(s). For further information see Conservation-by Design website.

Accommodation: Participants may stay in our centrally-located house, with up to three persons per room. There are three bedrooms, kitchen, two bathrooms and a large sitting room. Prices are £12 ($22 US) per person per night.

There are also three centrally-located hotels, with special rates for participants on the Montefiascone Project.

For further information, contact Cheryl Porter:

7 Venice Lodge. 55 Maida Vale. London W9 1SD. England

Telephone +44 (0)7899856314. / +44 (0)207 266 0505

Email: chezzaporter@xxxxxxxxx

Or consult our website: www.monteproject.com

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