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Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Other Poems

Detached poem with tipped area still adhered to support leaf

We hope you enjoy reading the final article from V&A Conservation Journal Number 63 (Autumn 2016).   Keep an eye out for new posts from V&A Conservation Journal Number 64 from December.   Jane Rutherston Head Book Conservator In 1875, Julia Margaret Cameron published two volumes ‘each with twelve plates plus portraits of Tennyson as frontispiece and excerpts […]

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How do you make a book?

The answer to that question depends on where and when you come from. As an apprentice working in the National Art Library I handle many books every day and I am always amazed at the variety of styles I come across. Every time I encounter a poor thing which is damaged I find myself suppressing my […]

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Oscar Jennings’ collection of early woodcut initials

In 1921, the V&A acquired Oscar Jennings’ collection of around 24,000 initial letters from early printed books. The collection, which was offered to the museum by Jennings’ widow Cecile, had formed the basis of his 1908 book Early Woodcut Initials. Thanks to our fantastic team of volunteers, we have recently begun to digitise these and make them accessible via the V&A’s Search […]

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Tradition and transformation in 19th century bookbinding

The 19th century was a time of great change in European bookbinding. Social and educational reform of the previous century had led to increased levels of literacy which in turn resulted in a greater demand for books from a much wider public. The book industry responded to this demand by seeking cheaper and quicker methods of […]

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“And spare his golden bindings”: the enduring appeal of Robert Burns

The works of Robert Burns; with his life, by Allan Cunningham. Books, published London: James Cochrane and Co., 1834.

Robert Burns (1759-1796) is widely considered to be Scotland’s national bard. His poetry celebrates aspects of farm life, traditional culture, class distinctions, and religious practice (alongside an infamous love for the lasses and the drink). Burns Night is celebrated around the world each year on his birthday (25th January). Let’s join in these celebrations by taking […]

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A Shifting Snow Maiden

Anyone with small children will know that snow maidens have had a resurgence in popularity in the last few years thanks to a certain ubiquitous Disney film, but this is only the latest in a long history of snowy maidens in folk and fairy stories. In this blog I’m going to look at the Russian […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 109

The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 109 Return of the Sunday service and a nod to the religions of London.  Plaistow, East London today and one of 59 book shops in London.  Green St, E13. ©Barnaby Barford 2014

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May Day, Mayday!

May Day, Hyde Park By Underground

For most of us May Day (not to be confused with the international distress call mayday) just means a bank holiday and a chance to recharge our batteries. Perhaps an opportunity to visit a museum? Or maybe surf the net for interesting and informative blogs?. . . The earliest May Day celebrations date back to pre-Christian times. In […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 11

The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 11 Carrying on the theme of dual purpose premises.  This is a fantastic shop – one of my favourites.  It is in Thornton Heath near Penge – SE25.  Get your hair cut while you get your tyres changed – laudable use of time! ©Barnaby Barford 2014

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 10

The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 10 I can’t believe it’s Sunday again, this blog is making the time count down even faster.  So keeping with the Sunday theme here is a great example of one of my favourite types of shops.  A dual purpose outlet. That’s not a very catchy way of […]

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