AICCM Symposium 2006, Conservation of Paper, Books and Photographic Materials. Post-prints and Posters. 19-21 April 2006, Wellington, New Zealand. p265-277
Lieutenant William Bligh’s two Bounty logbooks were conserved at Artlab Australia in April 2005. Famous for the mutiny that occurred on His Majesty’s Ship in 1789, Lt. Bligh’s logbooks chronicle his relationship with mutineer Fletcher Christian and his successful navigation of the Bounty’s launch for 48 days without charts and with only limited food. During conservation it was discovered that the logbooks contain not only written history but also evidence of additional sewn sections and pasted-in leaves. These additional pages have different watermarks to the paper of the original binding. Unfortunately they were also the cause of structural weakening and damage. Because of the additions, volume two in particular was difficult to handle without compromising its strength. The discoveries affect the way the volumes can be historically studied. It was essential that the conservation treatment be sensitive to these additions while structurally strengthening the volumes. This paper discusses the ethical dilemma of conserving Bligh’s logbooks while retaining the historical material evidence.