Making the Sword of Justice fit for show

Take up the Sword of Justice is a commanding recruitment poster, and after its treatment in Preservation Services, makes a great addition to the Library's current exhibition Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War. This large colour lithograph by Bernard Partridge (1861-1945) was printed in England in 1915 by David Allen & Sons for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. It features a classical representation of the figure of Justice.

Sharing a Sister's story of survival

I recently received two autograph albums requiring some particularly tender love and care before going on display as a part of the Library's new exhibition Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War. These autograph albums, now held as part of the National Library of Australia's Manuscripts Collection at MS 9461, were the property of Sister B. M. Williams.

Rex Nan Kivell's Bookplate part 2

Reginald Nankivell’s first job after leaving school in Christchurch was as a bookbinder, a passion for which he never lost. Progressively, as he polished himself from plain ‘Reginald’, into the stylish art dealer and debonair collector Rex (later Sir Rex) de Charembac Nan Kivell, he lavished great attention on his acquisitions, commissioning beautiful and durable bindings and housings for his many books and manuscripts. Whenever I call up such an item from Nan Kivell's collection, I eagerly anticipate the clamshell box or fancy binding he has fashioned for it. Rarely am I disappointed.

Where older is better

Staff from the Library's Preservation Services Branch, with the assistance of two wonderful volunteers, are currently cleaning the books held in our Rare Books stack. For me, this is a thrilling activity, as I am fascinated by the European Middle Ages. When I open a book that was printed before 1650AD, the quality and condition of the paper never ceases to amaze me. It is not often that we associate the word 'old' with 'beautiful', 'perfect' and 'the best', but when it comes to paper, this is absolutely the case.

Re-binding stories of voyages bound to Australia

The National Library of Australia is home to many wonderful books. They lend themselves perfectly as objects to hold and study but not easy to capture using the digitisation process. Therefore, I felt extremely lucky to be selected to work on items for digitisation from the unique Shipboard Journal Collection held in the Manuscript section of the Library. This blog will focus on the conservation of some of these journals with a brief discussion of the Edith Gedge Journal, 1808-1987. 

2014 Community Heritage Grants

What do Berrima, the Benedictine Community of New Norcia, Thredbo and Wangaratta have in common? Community groups from all these places have received Community Heritage Grants (CHG) to assist them to care for their unique collections. In fact, over 1000 organisations have shared in almost $5 million of funding since 1994. Community Heritage Grants are used to assist with the preservation of, and improved access to locally owned, publicly accessible and  nationally significant collections.

Conserving the Proeschel Atlas: bindings

This is the final blogpost in this series on the Proeschel Atlas Conservation Project. This post focuses on some of the different book conservation repair techniques undertaken on each of the three copies of Frederick Proeschel’s Atlas of Australasia, 1863. The aim is to return the binding structures to a physically stable condition for readers accessing the atlases within the map reading room of the National Library of Australia.


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