AICCM Symposium 2006, Conservation of Paper, Books and Photographic Materials. Post-prints and Posters. 19-21 April 2006, Wellington, New Zealand. p294-305
Otto Brunfels’ 1532 Herbarum vivae eicones is of importance not only because of its beautiful botanical woodcuts by Hans Weiditz, but also as the first printed herbal with illustrations drawn from live specimens. The copy in the State Library of Victoria’s Rare Book Collection had been trimmed, resewn and rebound in an economical fashion in the 19th century. In 2000 a decision was made to conserve it because the sewing thread was breaking down and the text block was splitting. Due to the special nature of the book, it was in demand for both seminars and exhibitions. However in its unstable condition the book was at risk of further damage. At the outset treatment looked straightforward: disbind, resew and leather reback. However it became clear as treatment commenced that following a conventional route would require substantial paper repair of the section folds, leading to excessive spine swell when sewing. This paper documents the treatment, and the issues that this book raised.