Wednesday, 6 March 2013

It's A Page Turner

This year, I and several other volunteers have cleaned roughly 2000 books in the library here at Montacute House, but it’s not as tedious as it may sound!

We use a pony hair brush to first dust off the boards and the page edges, and a separate brush to dust off the inside covers, so that the dirt and any creepy crawlies that may be lurking there are not transferred around the book. It is important whilst doing this to try not to open the book wider than 45° and cause any damage to the spine.

We then have a brief flick through the pages to detect any other points of interest. Whenever we notice something unusual, like something handwritten, or stuck into the book, it gets written on the condition report, of which there is one for each book.

Here are some of the interesting features that we came across, the good, the bad, and the ugly, ranging from wax seals to bookworm.


An example of foxing

The result of bookworm

a wax seal


  1. And you call that work!

    Do you have any information on whose seal that was?

  2. Hello pegsandtails,

    The National Trust classes it as work and that's good enough for me!

    Thank you for your question, i'd been wondering myself, so it gave me more reason to research it. There is some writing in the front of the book which is smeared, but I think it says 'Lutley his book', which makes sense because a lot of the books in the library came from the Brockhampton Estate, where the Lutley family (changed to Barneby for a time) once lived. I haven't been able to find out much more than that, but going by the date that the book was pulished (1720) I am guessing that the owner of it was Bartholomew Richard Lutley, although the seal isn't neccessarily his. Hope that helps.