Friday, December 28, 2012

Report on The Art of War in Europe

I don't seem to post my works on cloth binding restorations here as much as leather bindings, so I decided to put this up. It's Report on The Art of War in Europe in 1854, 1855, and 1856 by Colonel Richard Delafield, under the order of Jefferson Davis, printed by George W. Bowman. (1861, Washington D.C) The client asked to preserve everything, including the written names of Jefferson Davis and George B McClellan, along with a bookplate depicting firearms on the front endpaper. (The picture on the right. I wonder if it was one of those official Army's book plates in the Civil War era.. I have to ask Mr. Jaffe about it.) Restoring cloth bindings is way trickier than that of leather bindings' because aged cloth is extremely fragile to work with and matching the color and texture of new material to the original cloth perfectly is time-consuming and difficult. Well, troublesome jobs always end up being on my table, so no surprise there. - (Master would say things like "Oh, your tiny fingers are perfect for an intricate job like this. *grin*"...) Anyway, as I examined the original case, the entire edges were worn out horribly in a way that convinced me that the book needed a brand new case. (Pictures on the left.) I could patch them up and rehinge it, but for this book, I knew that the extremely fragile cloth material wouldn't react well with rather intense restoration process, resulting the end product to look terrible, let alone the fact it wouldn't have enough integrity to last long. By creating a new case, I needed to peel off the entire front endpaper with the written names and a bookplate, so that I could put it back onto the new endpaper. I antiqued the new endpapers as well, so that they match the original endpaper and don't shout out "NEW!". (The picture in the middle.) The original spine, the front and back covers were inlaid back onto the new case. Well, everything turned out as I expected it to be, and I thought I was done there... then, I remembered there were dozens of folded maps in the book....You see, normally, folded maps and graphics are crumbled and torn and need repairing. In this case, there were DOZENS! Well, I just finished mending them at last, and the book will be on the way to the East Coast soon.
--------About the Bookplate---------
Mr. Jaffe said: "The item in question is a universal bookplate. They are made so the owner can write his or her name in the blank space.Unfortunately it has very little value."


  1. I absolutely love your b;og and look forward to each installment! I hope your finger is feeling better - keep us updated!

    Just a quick note on this post - you said Jefferson Davies ordered this book, I suspect you meant Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederate States of America. Perhaps I err, though your link does point to Davis' biography.


    1. Hello Mike,

      uhhh... I Misspelled.. Thank you very much for letting me know! (am embarrassed. *blush*)

      My finger's going just fine. Thank you for your consideration. The only problem I have is, I cannot bend my finger because the cut is right on and across the joint from the side to the middle-the other side, thus the slightest bent opens the rather deep wound like a mouth of a fish! So, this stiff "cast" I make each morning with layers of band aids and masking tapes bothers me when I work.(I stopped using the tin foils as it started to attract attention!) I actually put aside the next restoration work that involved intricate procedures because of this. In case you are curious about what the book is, it's the 1736, Britannica Depicta. An absolutely marvelous book. I might feature it here to share with my dearest book-lover followers.

      Right now though, I'm working on things that I can do with a blind fold. :-)

  2. Hello,
    We have the exact same book in pretty much the same condition. It looks like you did an amazing job on this one. What kind of cost would it be to restore a book like this?

    1. I'd say it'd probably be around $250 range, but if your copy requires resewing or paper mending, etc., it'd add to the cost a bit more.