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IPCRA | Training | Upcoming Courses & Workshops | Montefiascone Project 2010

IPCRA | Training | Upcoming Courses & Workshops | Montefiascone Project 2010

Montefiascone Project - Summer 2010

Montefiascone is a small medieval walled city about 100 k (80 miles)north of Rome, on Lake Bolsena. Since 1988 conservators and others interested in books and their history have come together to work, to learn and to enjoy this special place. The summer 2010 programme is as follows:

Week 1: July 26th-30th
Medieval Pigments
Through illustrated lectures, participants will examine the story of colour in medieval times. The class will address the history, geography, chemistry and iconographic importance, and the actual techniques of colour manufacture, with special reference to manuscript painting. Using original recipes, participants will make and paint out the colours. No previous experience is necessary.
Tutor: Cheryl Porter

Week 2: August 2th-6th
Introduction to the Islamic Book Structure
This 5 day course will be based on constructing a model of the Islamic book, by following and comparing historical treatises; in particular that of Ibn Badis (11th century) and of Ibn Muhammed al-Sufyani (17th century). Participants will be provided with the basic text block and will then proceed to construct the past boards, sew the text block, construct the endbands and finally, cover the book in leather, before tooling (decorating the cover). The model will be put together using traditional materials and techniques. Participants will examine regional and historic variations in the techniques, the strengths and weaknesses of the structure, and discuss conservation issues. Participants will be required to bring some basic hand tools (a list will be provided following registration). All materials will be provided at nominal cost. No previous experience of bookbinding is necessary to do the class and curators and custodians of collections are welcome to apply.
Tutor: John Mumford

Week 3: August 9th-13th
The Biccherne of Siena
In Medieval Siena, the Comune commissioned artists to paint the book covers for various public records. These account books containing records of revenue and expenditure start in 1226. Bound in wood, they were initially distinguished one from the other by basic symbols or letters of the alphabet. However, in June 1257 (with Siena at its commercial peak) the administrators of the Biccherna (or Tax office) decided to pay a painter, Bartolomeo, to paint the cover of the latest account book, adding lustre to the functioning of the state, fetishising the books that stood for their actions and competence. Here begins a tradition that was to endure for nearly four centuries highlighting painters such as Duccio di Buoninsegno, Gilio di Pietro, Sano di Pietro, Lorenzo di Pietro, Dietisalvi di Speme, etc.
We plan to construct a medieval binding, using wooden covers, attached to the text block with split leather taws, carved and consolidated with hand-made nails, stained with mordent and coated with gesso, like the originals. Facsimiles of original cover designs will be supplied and also pigments (for egg tempera work), and Armenian bole and gold leaf. We will examine the calligraphy uniquely used on these covers.
Materials will be provided at nominal cost and participants will be sent a list of tools etc needed for the class.
Tutors: Jennifer Storey and Caroline Checkley Scott

Week 4: August 16th-20th
Paper Bindings of Montefiascone
Paper bindings had appeared in Italy and other parts of Europe by the late 15th century, and numerous examples dating from the 15th through to the 18th centuries can be found in the collections of the Barbarigo Seminary Library and the archives of the Benedictine Convent of St Peter, both located in Montefiascone. This course will provide a brief historical overview of European paper bindings, and give participants the opportunity to examine rare historical examples in Montefiascone collections. Three paper-covered binding models will be produced in the class. The first based on an Italian alla rustica binding, a laced case structure found on numerous printed books in the Seminary collection and made from a single folded sheet of paper; a second replicating a semi-limp, archival structure with a fore-edge flap and tie, found on an account book in the Benedictine convent; and a third using modern specifications for a paper case conservation binding. Emphasis will be placed on the structures and materials used for each of the bindings, but there will also be opportunities to embellish cover papers using traditional colored paste in spattered or block-printed patterns. Nicolas Barker will deliver an introductory lecture to provide historical context for the Montefiascone bindings and libraries.
Tutors: Maria Fredericks and Nicolas Barker (Joan Weir assisting)

The cost of the classes is: £445 GBP ($640 USD, €500 EUR) per week and includes all tuition (which is in English) and (most) materials. The Montefiascone Project is a not-for-profit organization, and all extra monies are used to finance the cataloguing and the conservation and preservation of the collection. For further information or to register for one week or more, please contact Cheryl Porter: . Go to ‘How to Sign Up’ to download the application form.

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