Conservation and Collection Care

The Conservation and Collection Care team are part of the Special Collections Department at the Bodleian Libraries.

Alongside our curatorial colleagues we look after and preserve the objects in our collection for current and future generations.

Our work consists of a combination of complex long-term projects, smaller practical treatments and essential preventive conservation measures. We also support our exhibitions and loans programmes.

We actively participate in research, specialist training and external collaborations. We also share our expertise with others by teaching – internally and externally – and contributing to the profession via the UK Institute of Conservation (Icon).

Our team comprises trained conservators, technicians and administrative staff. It is organised into three areas: book, paper and preventive conservation.

 

A portrait photograph of a woman with short brown hair looking directly at the camera

Virginia M. Lladó-Buisán is the Head of Conservation and Collection Care. She has been working in the conservation field since 1990, having specialised in the conservation of works of art on paper and the technical study of artists' materials and techniques. Virginia joined the Bodleian Libraries in January 2010 as Head of Book and Paper Conservation, before taking on her current role in March 2012. Prior to arriving at the Bodleian, Virginia worked for conservation departments at the British Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, The Guggenheim Museum, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia, and the National Maritime Museum Greenwich.

In recent years, Virginia has managed two large scale projects: the conservation of the Sheldon Tapestry Maps, jointly with National Trust, and the study of the materiality of ancient Mesoamerican manuscripts in the Bodleian collections through the application of non-invasive spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging. Virginia co-authored the book “Mesoamerican Manuscripts: New Scientific Approaches and Interpretations” (Brill) after the international conference with the same title that she organised in June 2016.

Virginia is passionate about participating in the Bodleian’s philanthropic endeavours for Conservation, which is part of her day-to-day work. She also enjoys promoting the professional development of new generations of conservators, which has resulted in the creation of a two-year internship to develop the role of the “Digitisation Conservator” in the heritage sector (a joint venture with the British Library and The National Archives, funded by The Clothworker’s Company).

Virginia is also the Secretary of the Friends of the Bodleian (FOB), which involves the organisation of several public lectures yearly, as well as contributing to the management of the FOB.

Book conservation

The a book in a wooden vice, it is spine up and the binding has been removed

The Book Conservation Team work to stabilize bindings, bound manuscripts and early-printed books with minimal interference to their original structures and features.

They also help to maintain the open-shelf references books and lending items in the libraries.

The team advise on the care of new acquisitions including artists books and modern media creations that are sometimes hard to recognise as a book at all.

They contribute to the teaching, research and public engagement activity of the libraries and the University, from running sessions for doctoral researchers to hands-on discovery workshops for schools.

 

 

A woman wears a white apron, in her hands she is holding a piece of paper that she is sewing

Nicole Gilroy is the Head of Book Conservation. After a first degree in English Literature and Biology she began her conservation training at Camberwell College of Arts during which time she held internships at The National Archives, Trinity College, Dublin and the Oxford Colleges Consortium. On receiving her MA, she began working at the Bodleian on a postgraduate internship in 2001 and worked in a number of roles before taking on leadership of the Book Team when it was formed in 2011.

Nicole has worked on the survey of manuscripts and printed books at St. Catherine's monastery on Mt. Sinai as part of the Ligatus team, and continues to work with Ligatus on the Linked Conservation Data Consortium. She sits on the Church of England's Conservation Committee for Sculpture and Furnishings, advising on book and manuscripts in the care of the Church. Her interests include the materials and production of parchment manuscripts and the development of conservation approaches and techniques through the history of the profession. Nicole is strongly committed to training the next generation of conservators and has hosted placements for students and apprentices since the creation of her team, as well as mentoring PACR candidates for her professional body. She is an accredited member of Icon.

Articles and publications by Nicole Gilroy

 

A woman sits at a desk - she has a paint brush in each hand and is working on a fragile manuscript that is broken into many pieces

Alice Evans is an Assistant Book Conservator. She joined the Bodleian Libraries in 2017 after graduating with an MA in Paper Conservation from Camberwell College of Arts where she specialised in books and archival material. During her studies Alice had placements at both national institutions and private conservation studios, including the National Maritime Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and PZ Conservation.

Alice works on objects and materials from across the Bodleian Libraries collections from parchment to paper. Her current areas of particular interest are modern archival materials and textile bindings. She is also involved in the department’s ongoing work looking at documentation and linked data as part of the Linked Conservation Data Consortium.

In 2019 Alice represented the Bodleian on a trip to the National Diet Library in Tokyo, Japan, as part of an ongoing exchange with conservators there. She spent two weeks working alongside scroll mounters and conservators learning about traditional Japanese conservation materials and practices.

 

A side profile of a man - he is sitting down at a desk looking down, a book is open in front of him and he works on it with a small implement

Simon Haigh is an Assistant Book Conservator working within the Book Conservation Team. After a degree in Graphic Design he continued to study Bookbinding at the London College of Printing, now the London College of Communication, for 2 years. He trained at James Brockman's Bindery in Oxford, where he worked as a bookbinder before joining the Bodleian as a Conservation Technician in 2005. Simon became part of the newly formed Book Team in 2012.

His interests include developing discreet techniques to re-attach boards to early printed books, fine binding and letterpress printing.

 

A side profile of a man - he has microscope glasses on his head - he holds a brush in his hand and works on a historic book

Andrew Honey is a Book Conservator with a teaching and research role. Following an undergraduate degree in conservation at Camberwell College of Arts he undertook a two-year post-graduate study in the conservation of rare books and manuscripts under Christopher Clarkson at West Dean College. Before joining the Bodleian in 1998 he worked at the National Museum of Wales, Oxford Conservation Consortium and Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin.

In addition to his conservation work Andrew regularly teaches for the Bodleian on the materiality of books and manuscripts both within the University and to summer schools. He has wide research interests and publishes in the fields of book conservation, bookbinding and paper history. He is an Icon accredited conservator and was a visiting fellow at the Ligatus Research Unit, University of the Arts, London from 2005 to 2010. He recently completed the conservation and rebinding of the Winchester Bible and is conservation advisor to the Mappa Mundi Trust. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2020.

Articles and publications by Andrew Honey

 

A woman sits at a desk wearing an apron. In front of her is a large book with its cover off - she is using an implement to conserve the spine of the book

Johanne Keiding is a Book Conservator. After training and working a number of years as a Laboratory Technician in Pharmaceutical R&D, she did her Bachelor’s and MSc in Graphics Conservation from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, graduating in 2012. In her MSc she specialised in the mechanical degradation of the book structure and philosophical approach to conservation. Before joining the Bodleian Libraries in 2016 she worked at the Royal Library in Copenhagen and the in The Bindery, Royal Collection, Windsor.

Even though she enjoys working on the diverse collection in the Bodleian Libraries her main interest is still the degradation of the book.

In 2017–9 Johanne took part in a collaborative research project with the Oxford Conservation Consortium investigating the physical properties of conservation materials, resulting in a joint paper in Studies in Conservation about Woven fabrics in book conservation.

A woman leans over a large old book - she is wrapping it in a protective cover

Kirstin Norwood is an Assistant Book Conservator. The focus of her role is on the treatment of post-1850 printed books within the circulating collections of the Bodleian Libraries.

She trained in the Conservation of Books and Library Materials at West Dean College, graduating with an MA in 2017. Alongside her role at the Bodleian, Kirstin is also a Collection Care Assistant at the Parliamentary Archives and is a member of the ICON Book & Paper Group committee.

Her interests include book history, in particular, incunabula printed during the earliest period of typography, and championing inclusivity and diversity within conservation.

Paper conservation

A detail of a person's hands over a manuscript document. They hold a wooden tool in each hand and delicately work on the document

The Paper Conservation Team undertakes interventive conservation treatments to stabilise the condition of works on paper and other materials such as parchment and papyrus, with expertise in treating vulnerable media as well as large formats and scrolls.

They also design bespoke mounting and housing; advance the understanding of our collections through the study of their materiality; and support the dissemination as well as the enjoyment of the collections through our involvement with digital programmes and exhibitions.

 

A portrait photograph of a woman with long brown hair - she looks directly at the camera

Marinita Stiglitz is Head of Paper Conservation. She trained as a book and paper conservator at the European School for the Conservation of Library Materials in Spoleto Italy, and afterwards completed her studies in Art History at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza'.

She continued her training in paper conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library and specialised in conservation of East Asian works of art on paper at the Freer Gallery in Washington DC, and at the International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper organized by ICCROM and the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. She worked as a conservator in Rome before joining the Conservation and Collection Care Department of the Bodleian Libraries in 2004.

Marinita is an accredited member of Icon and is part of the Icon Continuing Professional Development Committee. Her areas of interest include technical studies of painting materials and techniques in manuscripts.

Articles and publications by Marinita Stiglitz

 

 

 

A woman looks through a microscope, beneath the microscope is an open book. The woman is using a paint brush to carry out conservation work on it.

Julia Bearman is a Paper Conservator. Julia studied for a degree in Fine Art and pursued a career within the sector for fourteen years before changing direction in 2003 to train in conservation at Camberwell College of Arts. There followed a two year conservation internship and contracts with London museums and archives.

In 2007 Julia joined the Bodleian Libraries Conservation department as lead conservator on a two year project to digitise material from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. Since 2011 she has worked as a conservator within the Paper Conservation Team where among her responsibilities, she has taken care of the earliest collections of the Oxford University Archives, housed within a historical interior. Other projects include the complex treatments of two seventeenth century Chinese scrolls, the consolidation of paintings within a Mughal album and the repair and rehousing of an eleventh century Greek menologion.

Articles and publications by Julia Bearman

 

A woman stands next to a desk, she has a manuscript in front of her - to the left are glass bottles and other conservation equipment

Céline Delattre is a Paper Conservator who joined the Bodleian Libraries in 2017. After obtaining a Masters degree in Art History and Museum Management from the University of Lille 3 (France), she graduated in 2015 with a Masters degree in Paper Conservation from the Institut national du patrimoine (National Institute of Cultural heritage) in Paris. As part of her training, she came a first time in the Conservation workshop of the Bodleian Libraries for a three months placement in 2014.

After obtaining her degree, she has been working two years as a private Paper Conservator in Paris and the North of France, working for many institutions such as the Louvre Museum, Sotheby’s Paris, “Musée de la Piscine” of Roubaix, Somme department’s archives, etc.

Since she joined the Bodleian’s Paper Conservation Team, she has worked on various projects including, among others, a precious Mughal manuscript, a collection of Nazi propaganda posters, and a palm leaf manuscript. She is now working in a long-term project, which consists in preparing the volumes gathering the correspondence of Felix Mendelssohn known as the “Green Books” to be digitized.

 

A man leans over a desk - he holds a small implement in his right hand and is carrying out a delicate conservation task on a flat manuscript

Robert Minte is Senior Paper Conservator within the Paper Conservation Team. He has been working in conservation for 40 years, studying book and paper conservation whilst serving a bookbinding apprenticeship at the Bodleian Library, and completing an advanced internship in book conservation at West Dean College.

Through his work at the Bodleian Libraries he has specialised in the conservation of East Asian books and art on paper, studying Chinese bookbinding and scroll mounting in Hong Kong; through collaborations with the National Diet Library, Tokyo; attending the ICCROM Japanese Paper Conservation Course in Japan; assisting with the conservation of a Japanese hand-scroll from the Bodleian’s collections at the Far Eastern Conservation Centre, Leiden; and through the study of Japanese scroll mounting and conservation at the Usami Shokakudo, Kyoto, Japan.

Robert is an accredited member of Icon and since 2003 has been an accreditation assessor. He has lectured on conservation in the Far East and the UK.

Articles and publications by Robert Minte

Preventive conservation

Two small white plastic monitors - for temperature and humidity - sit on a bookshelf in front of some rare books

The Preventive Conservation Team aims to maximise the useful lifetime of the Bodleian Libraries’ collections with various preservation activities and initiatives. Their work includes environmental monitoring, delivering training, integrated pest management and advising on the storage, display and handling of collections.

The team also manage the Preservation Volunteer Programme, working to improve the storage of special collections through rehousing. They work in close collaboration with many other sections of the Bodleian Libraries and the wider University.

 

A woman holds what looks like a pair of tweezers and moves them towards a historic book - in front of the book are two petri dishes

Alex Walker is a Preventive Conservator, and manages the preventive conservation team. She joined the Bodleian Libraries in 2013. Her main responsibilities include managing preventive conservation projects, environmental monitoring, integrated pest management (IPM), providing and developing training programmes and managing the preservation volunteer programme.

She trained in Paper Conservation at Camberwell College of Art and has an MA in Preventive Conservation from Northumbria University. Alex is an accredited member of Icon, and a member of the steering committee for the UK IPM Group.

 

A woman stands in an old part of the library - the walls are panelled with wood - and she is looking at a piece of monitoring equipment in her hands

Catherine Harris is an Assistant Preventive Conservator. After a first degree in Ancient, Medieval and Modern History and an MA in Medieval Archaeology from Durham University, she went on to study for an MA in the Conservation of Historic Objects at the University of Lincoln, undertaking internships at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter and Ironbridge Gorge Museums. She has previously worked for the National Trust in historic properties and as a preventive conservator, as well as carrying out site work in stone and wall paintings conservation for a private conservation practice. She joined the Bodleian team in 2017.

Catherine has a particular interest in insect pests and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and in training staff in preventive conservation practices. Her main responsibilities include IPM, assessing collections for mould/pests, environmental monitoring, emergency salvage preparedness and providing training to Bodleian staff.

Training

We also offer work placements for students from institutions offering postgraduate book and paper conservation programmes such as West Dean College, Northumbria University, and l'Institut national du patrimoine.

Contact us

Email: bodleian-conservation-enquiries@maillist.ox.ac.uk

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