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[BKARTS] Montefiascone Project 2006

Posted on behalf of Cheryl Porter, chezzaporter@xxxxxxxxx



Montefiascone is a medieval walled city situated on a huge lake about half way between Rome and Siena. Each summer, conservators, archivists, art historians, librarians and others interested in the history and the structure of the book, meet to participate in classes which are held within the city walls. There are four week-long courses with different themes. Participants may come for one week or more.





 31 July - 4 August

Re-creating the medieval Palette

Participants will study the history, chemistry and significance of the pigments used by the medieval artist. Rocks and minerals, plants and animal material will be studied and each of the colours will be made according to original recipes and painted out in traditional binding materials.

No previous experience is necessary to do this course.

Course Tutor: Cheryl Porter (Freelance Conservator, England)


7 - 11 August

Medieval Limp Vellum Book Structures: A North European Style

This style of limp vellum binding is sewn through the cover with a rigid spine support, made from horn, wood or leather. The sewing is either link stitch or long stitch. Participants will make historical models, focusing on specific details - e.g. the use of a spine plate, signature make up, vellum guards and weaving over sewing thread - and study how these differentiate this structure and make it more durable than the more common limp structure with no spine support. 

Participants will need some basic bookbinding tools and some knowledge of binding would be helpful, but is not essential.

Course Tutor: Adam Larsson (Book Conservator at Uppsala University Library, Sweden)


14 - 17 August

Archival and Account Book Bindings: History, structure, materials and decoration

Participants will make an historic model, studying the sewing of the text-block, endbands preparation, parchment cover, cover decoration with alum tawed strips and samples of decorated edges.

Included in the week will be illustrated lectures on the Vatican Archives: a short historical introduction, main collections, binding styles etc.

Some bookbinding experience is desirable, though not essential.

Course Tutor: Enrico Flaiani (Head of the Conservation Workshop of the Vatican Secret Archives)


21 -25 August

Syriac Bookbinding

Syriac is the dialect of Eastern Aramaic, spoken in the early centuries of the Christian era in the area of Edessa, present day Northern Syria and Iraq and Southern Turkey. The week-long course is an introduction to the history of the Syriac book. Through a series of lectures with slides and practical demonstrations, the student will gain an understanding of the construction of a Syriac binding including sewing, board preparation, endbanding and covering. All the necessary material required for making the book will be provided in order for participants to then re-create the structure during the week. Participants will be required to bring some basic bookbinding equipment (to be specified). Some knowledge of the history of bookbinding is desirable, but is not essential. The course will be of interest to book binders, conservators, design binders and those interested in the history of the book. A pre-course reading list is available.

Course Tutors: John Mumford (Head of Book Conservation at the British Library), Caroline Checkley-Scott (Senior Conservator at the Wellcome Trust Library) and Nigel Allan (Wellcome Trust)





Cheryl Porter set up the Montefiascone Project in 1994 and has been Director of the programme since its inception. She is a freelance conservator, teacher and researcher and has conducted workshops and lectured widely in Australia, Canada, the USA and Europe.


Adam Larsson studied contemporary and historic book binding and book and paper conservation at the FolkHogSKola in Sweden and has since worked at the Uppsala University Library in book conservation.  He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout Sweden, the USA and Europe, and is a regular teacher at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, FHSK in Sweden and other European and North American centres. He is also interested in contemporary creative bookbinding and exhibits regularly in Europe and the USA. 


Enrico Flaiani is the Head of the Conservation Workshop at the Vatican Secret Archives, where his duties include the coordination of staff and the training of interns. He studied Medieval History in Rome and trained in conservation in Italy, Germany and Switzerland. He has also completed archive courses at the Vatican School of Palaeography and Diplomatics.


John Mumford 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 British Library at St Pancras. John is currently the Head of Book Conservation at the British Library. He has taught at the London College of Printing, The Colchester Institute, as well as undertaking many workshops in the UK and abroad.


Caroline Checkley-Scott studied printing and bookbinding in Dublin, Ireland. She was appointed trainee book conservator at the British Library, London in 1991, where she worked at the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, and the Oriental and India Office Library and Records. Here she specialised in the conservation of early Christian manuscripts from the Middle East. In February 2001 Caroline started work at the Wellcome Library in the Preservation and Conservation Department with Tony Bish. In this year she became an accredited member of the Institute of Paper Conservation. She is now the Senior Conservator at the Wellcome Trust Library. She has lectured both nationally and internationally in Slovenia, Argentina and Brazil.


Nigel Allan is the former Curator of the Oriental Collection of the Wellcome Library in London.




Maida Vale, London W9 1SD, England.



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