We just received our latest volume treated through the WU Libraries' Legacy of Books conservation program. This has been a wonderfully successful program, and in later posts I'll be highlighting the many objects that have been conserved since the program began in 2004.
This most recent beneficiary is a magnificent volume of etchings by the Italian architect and printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778). Awed by the grandeur of Rome's ancient ruins, Piranesi created the series of massive prints known as his Vedute di Roma over the course of some thirty years. At the time of his death in 1778, the artist had completed 135 views. The plate shown here is Altra Veduta del Tempio della Sibilla in Tivoli.
Because WU's volume had both of its covers detached it was difficult to handle safely. So noted conservator Richard Baker removed the old binding, cleaned the plates with a non-abrasive shredded vinyl eraser, and created a binding of archival goatskin over boards covered in new period-style pastepaper. The pastepaper is pretty remarkable -- Richard made a number of models in varying shades and saturations before settling on a style that would capture the spirit of the earlier binding.
Our sincere thanks to Jane and Lawrence Kahn, who had the volume restored to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, June 3, 2008.