Ethical and technical concerns during the conservation process of a religious book: The book of hours from the library of Palácio Nacional de Mafra

Rita Araújo, Maria da Conceição Casanova, Maria João Melo, Ana Lemos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper discusses the ethical approach and decision making for the conservation of a French book of hours (cofre no.24), currently stored in the 18th century library of Palácio Nacional de Mafra (PNM), in Lisbon, Portugal. This book of hours, named cofre no.24, has the manuscript’s original text block dated from ca. 1420 and three folios were added later, in the second half of the 15th century. The conservation decision was taken based on the study and full comprehension of the techniques and materials present in the book and bearing in mind the significance and the role of this symbolic book, throughout its life. The main aspects of diagnosis of the condition of the book are presented and the conservation treatment briefly described. The colours analysed reveal the artist’s original trace and no other alteration, reinforcing the proposed minimal intervention for the text block. As opposed, the binding of the late 18th/early 19th centuries was in very poor condition, requiring the rebinding of the whole book. Treatment decisions are raised and discussed, namely the choice of maintaining the binding found versus recovering old bookbinding features, as the main theme of an ongoing research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Science and Technology
Volume11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Book of hours
  • Bookbinding
  • Pigment identification
  • Silver leaf

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