Book conservation and repair: vellum-bound books

Course Dates: 26/04/23 - 12/07/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Learn to assess books and repair vellum-covered books including limp, semi-limp and boarded style. Work on your own projects in paper, cloth or leather. Basic materials included. For those with some bookbinding experience.
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Full fee £609.00 Senior fee £487.00 Concession £396.00

Course Code: VD204

Wed, day, 26 Apr - 12 Jul '23

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This is a structured course for intermediate and advanced learners on the repair and conservation of vellum-bound books. We will examine different vellum structures and explore the options available for conservation of antiquarian material. You will also have the freedom to work on your own projects in paper, cloth or leather with support and guidance from the tutor.

What will we cover?

Repair and conservation of vellum-bound books to include limp, semi-limp and boarded structures. All aspects of
both cloth and leather bindings can be dealt with, as can the construction of portfolios, slip-cases and drop-back

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Assess and repair a vellum covered volume.
- Construct appropriate enclosures for books and pamphlets.
- Complete unfinished book repairs.
- Demonstrate a greater understanding of how to approach and undertake successful repair and conservation of

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is aimed at students with some experience of bookbinding and/or book repair. You must have a reasonable level of experience in book repair principles, and some historical knowledge of bookbinding would be an advantage.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for
health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use
numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

By demonstration and individual practice at your own bench space and with the guidance of an experienced tutor. Some handouts will be provided, but you will be expected to keep and use your own working notes.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You must provide your own books to work on, and to have these available at the beginning of the course. Guidance will be given on the first day as to what is required and appropriate. The bindery is equipped with most tools, but you will be expected to use your own hand tools. The class has some materials which are provided for purchase and you will be given guidance for providing your own.Need art supplies? Our partner London Graphic Centre has everything you need from pencils to printing services, at 15% off.
To get an LGC discount card, students will need to show proof/ confirmation of enrolment of them being a student at City Lit. You can apply for our card in-store or by simply emailing with a scan or photo of relevant confirmation. The student discount does not apply to products that are already discounted or on offer. More information can be found here-

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Suitable follow-on courses would be:
VD245 intermediate/advanced conservation
VD246 intermediate/advanced conservation
VD247 intermediate/advanced conservation
VD357 Bookbinding: Limp vellum binding
Your tutor will be able to advise on further study during the course.

Peter Spain

Peter has been teaching Book Conservation and Restoration at City Lit since 2007. He trained in Craft Binding at The London College of Printing and then went on to do an Honours Degree in Paper Conservation at Camberwell. Previously, Peter worked as a freelance photographer, travelling extensively and always featuring craftspeople in his portfolio. Trips to Japan led to an interest in Papermakers and Bookbinders and he began to collect early documentary photography at a time when this was still an affordable pursuit. Fortunately for his future direction in life, photo albums are amongst the most fragile of codices and therefore most needful of repair. What started as a practical dabbling became a consuming passion and he has now run the West Grove Bindery since the late 1990s. Peter has a particular interest in the ephemeral and the over-looked, and specialises in trade and temporary bindings from the hand-press period. His classes are based in practical study and instruction is through demonstration backed up with handouts. Students engage in individual practice on the items of interest provided by themselves.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.