Conservation rebinding of a 19th century velvet binding damaged in a water leak.

The velvet binding contains a Program/ticket of James R. Chadwick’s for a dinner in honor of Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Full velvet binding with gold decoration. The velvet is drummed on the boards. Due to age and water damage, the velvet is very rigid in places and splits easily. The nap of the velvet has worn away on the spine and board edges, revealing tan cloth beneath. The boards are extremely distorted from water damage. The pastedowns are silk over thin card stock. The leaves are loose. The leaves have planar distortion from dampness, but there is no visual evidence of mold. A ticket to the dinner is adhered onto the title page, obscuring all of the text; the ticket has a name faintly written in ink. There are the remains of a cloth ribbon used to attach the folded leaves to the binding.

P1000864004 P1000865005

Conservation treatment:

The leaves were vacuumed under low suction with a HEPA-filter, and the leaves were cleaned with Absorene dry cleaning sponges as needed. The volume was disbound and the pastedowns and velvet removed mechanically from the boards. Because the boards were so distorted from water damage and could not be flattened, the client chose to discard and replace them. The leaves and pastedowns were humidified and flattened between blotters under light weights.

The folds were mended with kozo paper using wheat starch paste. The original pastedowns were lined with kozo paper using wheat starch paste. The breaks and losses in the original velvet were reinforced on the verso with layers of kozo paper using wheat starch paste. The mends were colored with acrylic pigments as needed.


The volume was rebound with new 4-ply mat boards and the existing velvet and pastedowns. The velvet was drummed onto the boards. The single section was sewn with 25/3 linen thread using a pamphlet stitch through a new inner hinge made of laminated kozo paper. The original ribbon was retained in a glassine folder.

Conserved in 2021.








Limited Editions

Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-304-2652 james@reid-cunningham.com