This bible came into the studio from a private client, and has sentimental value as it records in handwritten notes the births, marriages, and deaths of the family. The first notations are entered in a beautiful script in ink in the mid 1850s continuing to ballpoint pen entries from the late 1900s. The 'Self Interpreting Family Bible' was the creation of Reverend John Brown in 1778, and was very popular due to the brief summaries at the top of each page and extended reflections on the passages of text. This bible is undated but presumed to be early to mid C19th due to the inscriptions and the description of the late Father Brown, who died in 1787.
The hollow back bible has beautiful metal bosses and one clasp holding the boards (the other is missing). The goat skin leather is tooled in gold and blind, with decorative indentations on the boards and gilded edges on the textblock. Inside are fine coloured plates depicting biblical scenes.
Both boards were detached, along with the first and last few pages of the textblock which required repairs. The leather was damaged and very brittle, with large sections missing along the spine piece. As the book is a family heirloom it was important to ensure the bible was safe to handle and would not be vulnerable to further damage.
As the leather was so brittle, it was consolidated with several layers of Cellugel to facilitate handling during treatment. The hollow was split and removed, and the spine linings were taken off using a poultice of 10% Sodium Carboxyl Methylcellulose. The first and last few sections were over sewn which was creating uneven tension and so this was removed, and the spine was re-lined with Japanese and hahnemühle paper.
An archival goat skin was toned and used to re-back the bible which nicely matched the texture of the covering leather, and the original spine piece was then adhered on top using wheat starch paste. Additonal leather repairs were also made to missing sections on the boards. A lost tack was replaced to secure the metal boss in place. Finally the cloth hinges on the inside joints were pasted beneath the pastedowns with a mixture of EVA and wheat starch paste.