Catching up again in Cambridge

On Thursday 10th July the Books and Beasts and Venetian Vellum collective returned to Cambridge to update conservators, curators and academic colleagues on progress with the projects and to thank them for being so co-operative in supporting our research work by furnishing samples and sharing their expertise with us.

Prior to the formal presentation, we met colleagues in the conservation department at the University Library including Jim Bloxham, Head of Conservation, together with Shaun Thompson and Emma Nichols both of whom have recently been working on parchment documents and had a host of questions and observations for the scientists, especially concerning the possible identification of adhesives using ZooMs. The presence of animal-based glues in the studio served as a timely reminder of the continuity of certain techniques.


Amongst the volumes being prepared by conservation staff for the forthcoming exhibition of incunables being overseen by Ed Potten was the parchment Bamberg Missal we’d sampled on our previous visit (cow!) and which had been presented to the CUL in 1937 by the then Librarian, A.F. Schofield.


Given the amount of recent project activity both in the UK and Italy, a coffee break afforded a quick chance for the Manchester and York staff to catch up and swap news ahead of the formal presentation in the new seminar room on the Library’s ground floor. After an introduction by Emma Nichols, Matthew Collins and Sarah Fiddyment explained the scope and significance of the work and the science behind the species identification and sample collection method to the assembled audience, before outlining the potential value to biologists, conservators and curators of the work. There was also time for Stephen Milner to give a quick update on the progress and future of the Venetian Vellum project in the light of the previous week’s workshop/seminar at the Rylands.


Thanks to all at Cambridge for coming along and for their ongoing commitment to the B&B and VV research. We’ll be back!


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