Conservation Work at the Lindley Library

The R.H.S. Lindley Library is one of the world’s finest resources for the history of gardening and horticulture and the 19th century books form a distinct collection that is available by appointment for supervised reference.

Over the past year we have been actively involved with the R.H.S. in the conservation of many of their 19th Century holdings, those classified by them as “category 4” (…if they are to be retained on closed shelves then they require conservation rebinding, retaining as much of the original integrity of the volume as possible).

Chandler & Buckingham. Camellia Brittanica 1825 930 CAM CHA


Front board detached. Sewing loose, thread broken, spine cracking and pieces loose.

In black diaper-grained cloth. Text-block requires stripping down, guarding, and re-sewing on 3 cords. Half-title to be infilled where previous ownership(?) inscription has been excised. Acid-free interleaves need flattening and some repair. Hinge-on boards, construct hollow and re-back in toned aero-linen.  Lay down original spine pieces.



Duperie. Voyage Autour du Monde 1829 910 (3) DUPa

Front board detached, pages loose, pages and boards brittle, spine largely missing but manuscript label extant.

In a yellow paper case. Boards heavily soiled, text-block rather foxed and uncut edges dusty.

Rebuild first and last sections, sew in. Mechanical cleaning, especially boards, and some paper repair to text.

Consolidate corners, hinge-on boards, construct hollow and re-back in appropriate cloth (1/4 binding). Lay down original label.

Knight. Pomona Herefordiensis 1811 834.10 KNI

Knight2Both boards detached, pages and boards brittle, spine cracked and corners very worn, missing top rear corner, leather degraded and covers dirty and damp-stained.

In a tight-backed, straight-grained morocco half-binding with green sugar paper sides and printed label to front board. Text-block requires stripping down, guarding, and re-sewing on 3 cords.

Paper repairs necessary to first and last sections. One corner requires re-building, others consolidating, then covering in new leather to match. Hinge-on boards and re-back in matching leather. Replace green sugar-paper sides and re-use original label.


Brookshaw. Groups of Flowers 1829 9700.043 BRO

Front cover almost detached, leather lifting and section missing on front board. Text block dirty, mould, water damage and colour off-setting.

In straight-grained burgundy morocco, gilt decorated to spine and boards. Extensive water/mould damage throughout.  Text block requires mechanical cleaning, complete stripping down and float washing to alleviate staining. Resew on 5 cords and resew endbands also, to match originals (evidence of original tie-downs extant). Consolidate corners, hinge-on boards, construct hollow and re-back in appropriate leather. Infill missing section on front board and lay down original spine pieces.

Moore. Ferns of Britain and Ireland. Nature Printed 1855 583.394 MOO

Gutta percha binding failed, covers rubbed and worn, some staining to plates and tissues.

In an elephant folio green half-morocco binding, with wave-grain cloth sides, gilt-stamped to spine and front board. Tip-in interleaving sheets. Remove old glue and lining. Fan text block in both directions and glue; strengthen with angled threads and re-line with aerolinen. Construct hollow, consolidate corners and hinge-on boards. Cut back original leather to preserve tooling and put in compensation pieces for corners and sides. Re-cover corners and re-back in matching leather with original spine pieces laid down.


The Golden Age of Japanese Export Nurseries, 1880 – 1930

7 March – 15 April
RHS Lindley Library, Vincent Square, London, admission free

Japanese gardens inspired avant-garde artists and gardeners in the late 1800s.

This display is designed to complement the Royal Academy’s ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ exhibition and features 16 exquisite illustrations plus original Japanese nursery catalogues.