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News - Scholarship winner 2016

Conservation By Design Reveals 2016 Scholarship Winner

Samuel Foley

Conservation By Design Limited (CXD) has announced that Samuel Foley, from the UK, a final year student studying MA in Conservation, specialising in Books and Archive Materials at Camberwell College of Arts, is the lucky recipient of this years coveted Nicholas Hadgraft Memorial Scholarship. The renowned scholarship, first awarded in 2005, offers one conservator each year the opportunity to learn more about unique bookbinding techniques from a host of well known and highly regarded tutors. The judging panel, this year made up of Cheryl Porter, Jim Bloxham, Alan Farrant and CXDs Caroline Checkley-Scott felt that Nicholas Hadgraft would have approved wholeheartedly with their unanimous choice.

Sam, will receive £1500 to put towards attending all the courses offered at the Montefiascone Summer School in Italy. Feeling that the timing is perfect for his professional development, Sam is keen to learn as much as possible to develop skills and knowledge so he can offer those to a future employer within the conservation field. He commented; "I feel extremely lucky to be chosen, it was very unexpected and caught me off guard. It is a huge honour that the panel felt I was deserving of such a generous prize. Winning the scholarship means a tremendous amount not just to me professionally, but also personally. I am lucky enough to love what I do and to be given the chance to pursue that further through the summer school is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is amazing that my work has been recognised and the award gives me the impetus to drive forward, learn and achieve more."

Dirk Hendrickx, CXDs Managing Director, delivered the news to Sam by telephone shortly after the judges had made their decision. "It is encouraging that year after year we are attracting outstanding applicants, an indication, perhaps, that our heritage will continue to remain in good hands. We are proud that the scholarship is so highly regarded within the conservation sector, this year taking applications from India, Egypt, USA, Greece, Estonia, Malta, France, Germany, Italy and the UK, to name just a few, reinforces this.

"For the forth year running, we have decided to award a runner-up prize. Marco Fagiolo, who is a restorer of library materials, paper and parchment and is based in Rome, Marco will receive £1000 towards attending the summer school. In addition to this, a special mention must go to Lisa Camilleri, a freelance book conservator in Malta, who also impressed the judges and has been offered the course of her choice free of charge.

Boston Public Library and Depulvera Book Cleaning Machine

Boston Public Library's antidote to a century's worth of coal dust contamination is the Depulvera book cleaning machine.

The product
'Depulvera' automatic book cleaning machine


The Client
Boston Public Library, America's largest public library

The problem
Legacy of coal-dust pollution causing damage to historic books and texts


The Challenge
Replacing ineffective hand dusting with a practical, automatic cleaning method

The goal
"I wanted a machine that was portable, effective for cleaning the books, simple and safe for an untrained assistant to use, easily cleaned and maintained and quiet." Catherine Willis, Chief of Technical and Digital Services, Boston Public Library

What damaging substance threatens the permanent survival of over 24 million books in America's largest public library? The answer may seem surprising. "The problem for us is coal dust," says Catherine Willis, Chief of Technical and Digital Services at Boston Public Library (BPL). In modern America's largely gas-powered economy you might expect worries about soot to be a thing of the past but for Willis, they remain a present-day problem. "The Central Library was built next door to one of Boston's main railway stations in 1895 as well as being heated by coal in the early days," she says.

It's not the prize possessions of this important research institution that are at risk. The BPL's extraordinary collection of 1.5 million rare books and manuscripts, among them a Shakespeare 'First Folio', President John Adams personal library, Mediaeval and Early Renaissance manuscripts, music scores handwritten by Mozart, Prokofiev and others, and a beautiful collection of Fine and Historic Bookbindings, are cared for by a dedicated conservator. But both the scale of the library and the age and variety of its collections make it impossible to give less precious but equally ancient books comparable attention. "If someone called up a volume that was catalogued over a century ago and not requested since, it may well be covered with decades' worth of dust and grime," admits Willis. "Cleaning is a hidden problem, one which few libraries have the resources to solve entirely."

A five-point cleaning hit-list Willis had a five-point hit-list for the ideal book cleaning machine in her mind's eye. "I wanted it to be portable, effective for cleaning the books ã especially the top bottom and edges ã simple and safe for an untrained assistant to use, easily cleaned and maintained and quiet," she recalls. In 2011 she came across the Depulvera, a machine custom designed and hand built in Italy and marketed and sold by Conservation by Design. Specifically intended to clean books at speed (up to a dozen per minute, or 3000 per day), the Depulvera is able to cope with the volume of books a large library like the BPL regularly handles. Portable and compact enough to negotiate narrow library stacks, the machine's sophisticated mechanism makes use of ultra-soft horsehair brushes controlled by an ultrasonic system of sensors that enable both its brushes and vacuum cleaning nozzles to adjust swiftly and automatically to the dimensions of each volume.

The benefits of the Depulvera to the longevity of books and to the health of staff and readers had already attracted the attention of major libraries around the world, among them the British Library which bought two machines to clean its collections when it moved most of its storage facilities to Yorkshire in 2005. But Catherine Willis still had her doubts. "It seemed to tick all my boxes," she recalls. "But I'm a sceptic. My commitment had to be without reservation."

An all-round examination Bearing this in mind, when Catherine was offered the chance to put the Depulvera through its paces, she came up with a challenge intended to push the machine to its limits. "I took a package of books that reflected almost all of the different conservation problems we face," she recalls. Among them were books without covers held together by cotton ties; books with their spines half torn off; books with pages out of place or projecting; even loose collections of pamphlets. To Willis's surprise, all but one, a tiny book two inches square, came through much cleaner, and all were entirely undamaged.

The BPL purchased two Depulveras and today the machines remain in constant use. The unit in the Central Library is used to clean books called up by researchers and readers, as well as for the cleaning that is essential before books can be scanned and digitised. Catherine Willis believes the machines' purchase contributes both to the future well-being of the BPL's users and to its mission to preserve its literary treasures for posterity. "We have a responsibility to keep the texts in our care indefinitely in a form that is useful and usable," she says. "These machines are prolonging the life of our books and making them safer and healthier for staff and the public to use. That alone justifies the cost."

Telephone Maite López Sosa to discuss this and other book cleaning equipment +44 (0) 1234 846338

Click here for product information.

Other Depulvera clients
100 worldwide: National Libraries of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Argentina, Norway, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, Latvia, South Korea, Belgium

The Musashino University Art Museum and Library, Japan and Planorama

An exquisite new landmark building in Japan required beautiful conservation-quality cabinets for public display of its prints collection

The product
Top-of-the-range bespoke Planorama aluminium cabinets

The Client
Musashino University Art Museum and Library, Japan

The Challenge
Safe handling and conservation of an historic art prints collection in display cabinets, which were accessible in public areas and complemented a highly distinctive modern interior

All Conservation by Design's (CXD) clients requires products that ensure their artefacts; artworks and documents remain in the best possible state of preservation. But some museums and libraries need products with the style to match their conservation performance.

The Musashino University Art Museum and Library was just such a case. When the museum came to CXD in 2011, it was looking for a cabinet system in which to store a fine collection of over 1000 prints, ranging from 18th century Japanese Copperplate engravings to 20th Century prints both by 20th century Japanese masters and overseas artists from Fernand Leger to Henry Moore.

As well as setting out rigorous storage guidelines to ensure the preservation and safe handling of the prints, the Museum's brief required cabinets that would at times double as elegant display cases for the prints because, as the museum's supervisor of artefacts says: "Accessibility was also important, so that students could study stored artworks during classes".

Its hard to overstate the importance the aesthetics of the cases were to the museum. Completed in 2010, the Musashino University Art Museum and Library is one of Japan's most interesting landmark cultural buildings of recent years. It includes both an extensive art museum and a library planned around a colossally long, spiral-shaped double-height bookshelf nine metres high. Every detail - right down to the shelves themselves - has been meticulously shaped and honed by the practice of world-famous Tokyo-based architect and designer Sou Fujimoto. It was clear which product fitted the Musashino bill. First introduced in 1970 and manufactured at CXD's Bedford factory since 2000, Planorama is the company's top of the range cabinet system and is both beautiful and functional.
The elegant design features a unique aluminium profile from which drawers can be custom made to display objects as thin as 10mm (for coins) or as large as 4 x 5 metres (for storing things like ship's flags). Constructed using only inert conservation-grade materials, the drawers offer protection from light, pollutants and dust. As the runners are built without moving parts and need no lubrication, the drawer mechanism requires little maintenance. The modular nature of the cabinets construction also means that further units can easily be added if more capacity is required.

As Emma Murphy, Business Development Manager at CXD recalls, a key requirement of this first ever Planorama installation in Japan was that each drawer should contain no more than three valuable objects so as to maintain its safe handling. "CXD manufactured and supplied over 230 20mm depth light-weight drawers with 36 micron polyester bases, anti-dust brushes, pull out locking and central locking," she explains. "The cabinets have laminated glass tops and UV filter so the contents of the top drawer can be displayed and, as the top drawer is interchangeable with all the others, it's straightforward to change what is on show without touching the precious contents."
A year after the installation, the Musashino University Art Museum and Library declare themselves very pleased with the results: "The Planorama cabinets satisfy both our storage and display needs", says a spokesman. "The glazed top and polyester drawer bases enable us to see more than one layer of stored prints without even opening the drawers. The cabinets are neat and clean and add a sophisticated look to the entire storage room."

Just as crucial, the architect of the building pronounces himself content with the way Planorama fits into his extraordinary building "It looks nice," says architect Sou Fujimoto simply, "And it fits well into its surroundings."

Telephone Robert Campbell + 44 (0) 1234 846352 to make an appointment or to discuss how Planorama can work for you.

For more Planorama information please click here

Three pioneering Archival Aids products still strong after 30 years.

30 years after their launch, three pioneering Archival Aids products are established and enduring conservation staples

Can you imagine just how laborious conserving books, maps or other paper artifacts would be without a ready supply of inert conservation-grade heat-set coated tissue to patch, repair and fix them with?

Colin McArthur, Operations Manager of Scottish bookbinding and paper conservation specialist Riley Dunn and Wilson (RDW), admits repair work without 'coated tissue' would certainly be more complicated. The Archibond tissue CXD markets under its Archival Aids brand is central to the contracts and one-off projects RDW undertakes for institutions ranging from St Andrew's University to the British Museum. 'Much of our work is about washing, de-acidifying, repairing, patching and sewing books which date back to the 18th century and beyond. Archibond is versatile and quick for fixing little tears but we also use it for 'all over' lining of fragile old texts. We've done that recently to preserve a whole collection of crumbling World War 1 newspapers,' says Colin. 'It's one of those products you take so much for granted that it’s hard to visualise a time when it wasn’t around.'

It may now be ubiquitous but Archibond has not been around for quite as long as you might think.  'Coated tissues' only emerged in the late 1970s when a request from the British Library's bindery team for a version of conservation-grade heat-set dry adhesive prompted ADEMCO the US-based originators of dry mounting to set up a dedicated conservation division. Christened 'Archival Aids', the development team was led by chemist Ron Buxton whose first mission was to create a practical, dry adhesive and repair tissue to go with it.

Buxton set out to create a range of Archibond products which catered for diverse paper conservation needs. He developed a PH neutral 'unsupported adhesive' so conservators could choose and laminate with the specific paper or cloth that fitted the needs of a particular job.  Its sister product, Archibond coated tissue was intended for more general-purpose larger volume conservation. Made from thin but strong, long-fibred 'spider tissue' paper coated with the adhesive and backed with 'release paper' that makes it easy and quick to use, the tissue can be cut manually and used to patch individual tears with a heated spatula or used in with a 'semi-matic' laminator to cover whole documents. 

By the mid-1980s the labour-saving combination of speed, versatility and trustworthiness had made Archibond a conservation staple and Archival Aids had emerged as an independent company in its own right with Ron Buxton at the helm.  Sparked by Archibond's success and an understanding of conservators needs Buxton went on to develop PTDA de-acidification treatment. A non-aqueous magnesium salt based antidote to address growing worries about acid hydrolysis, it allowed conservators to spray, dip or brush paper and card to protect it from oxidative deterioration.

'It's one of those products you take so much for granted that it’s hard to visualise a time when it wasn't around.'
Colin McArthur, Operations manager of bookbinders and paper conservation specialists Riley Dunn and Wilson on Archibond coated tissue

'In 30 years I haven't heard of any problems with PTDA and the longer that continues the more our confidence in the product will continue to grow.'
Craig Horsfall, Head of Conservation, John Jones Ltd on PTDA solution

As it avoided the dangers to books of immersion in water solutions, PTDA was an immediate hit with librarians and conservators at institutions such as the British Library and France's Bibliothèque Nationale. Today the non-aqueous nature of the treatment remains a key benefit, as Craig Horsfall, Head of Conservation at London based art preservation and framing company John Jones, explains 'We choose our de-acidification treatment according to the project needs and there are many instances with water-sensitive pieces when brushing with PTDA rather than water-based immersion is the right solution,' he says. 'We had a 50 year old gouache recently which would simply have fallen apart if we had tried to wash it.' PTDA also has significant cost advantages. 'We recently treated a portfolio of 30 lithographs by brushing them with PTDA,' says Craig. 'But the budget wouldn't have stretched to washing each individually.'

Above all, of course, it is the trustworthiness of the products that makes these three Archival Aids 'Go-To' standards for many conservators. Sadly, Ron Buxton is no longer with us but it was his wish to sell Archival Aids to CXD; this was completed in December 2013, shortly after he died. But the trust conservators continue to put in the pioneering products he developed in the 70s and 80s remains his legacy. 'Inevitably it takes several decades for products to really prove their value to conservators and as a community we constantly share our observations', says Craig Horsfall. '30 years on I haven't heard of any problems with PTDA and the longer that continues the more our confidence in the product will continue to grow.

Conservation By Design Reveals 2014 Scholarship Winner

Julie Tyrlik

Elizabeth Ralph

Conservation By Design Reveals 2014 Scholarship Winner

Conservation By Design (CXD) has announced that Julie Tyrlik, a second year student from the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris, France, is the lucky recipient of this years coveted Nicholas Hadgraft Memorial Scholarship.

The renowned scholarship, which is now in its 10th year, offers one conservator each year the opportunity to learn more about unique bookbinding techniques from a host of well known and highly regarded tutors at the acclaimed Montefiascone Book Conservation Summer School in Italy.

Julie, who has previously interned at Villa Medicis in Rome under the tuition of Paolo Dotti, intends to use her scholarship to attend three of the courses - Semi-limp Parchment Binding styles with Anne Hillam, 12th Century English Limp Tawed Skin Binding with Jim Bloxham and Shaun Thompson, and Embroidered Turkish Binding with Kristine Rose and Gaia Petrella.

She commented: "I am conscious that having knowledge of bookbinding structures can be important for book conservation, and that practice is the best way to develop a better understanding of them.

"I am really interested by the approach the Summer School offers by allowing us to recreate some structures. Everything we do will be based on an attentive observation. This will help me to learn the skills used by ancient bookbinders and provide a better appreciation of the technics."

Julie will receive £1,500 towards the cost of attending the Summer School, which takes place over four weeks in July and August in the medieval town of Montefiascone, Italy.

Conservation By Designs Dirk Hendrickx, added: "Every year we continue to be astounded by the quality of the applications we receive, and this year has been no exception. The scholarship is now so highly regarded within the conservation sector that we are receiving interest from all over the globe.

"In fact, the entries this year were so impressive that, for the second year running, we have decided to award a runner-up prize too. Elizabeth Ralph, a trainee book conservator from Cornwall, demonstrated considerable skill and passion for her craft, so we are delighted to invite her to attend her preferred course at the summer school."

The scholarship is offered in memory of Dr Nicholas Hadgraft, a good friend of Conservation By Design who died tragically in 2004. Nicholas was a fellow of the University of the Arts London and a key collaborator on the "Squelch Drying" technique devised by Stuart Welch (the founder of CXD), the most effective way to date of drying valuable rare books.

For further information on the Nicholas Hadgraft Memorial Scholarship, contact Conservation By Design on 01234 846 300 or click here

Shrine of St Manchan makes Triumphant Return Home thanks to Armour Systems CXD

Shrine of St Manchan makes Triumphant Return Home thanks to Armour Systems CXD

When The Shrine of St Manchan was dramatically stolen from the Boher Catholic Church in Ireland on Friday 1st June 2012, the local community was devastated.  Thankfully, the precious relic was quickly recovered but church officials were forced to place the 12th Century artefact in temporary storage until a suitable way of protecting the exhibit within the church could be found.

Dublin based firm, Blackwood Architects, were commissioned to design and procure the replacement casing. Benan Clancy, the responsible Architect, explains: "The brief was in essence to balance the requirements of designing a case that would exhibit the Shrine attractively to visitors, while protecting the relic from damage and pollution, and also minimising the risk of theft. Due to the remote location outside of the normally secure museum environment, the requirement to incorporate, state of the art security features which would allow the shrine to remain in-situ was of foremost importance.

"We spoke with quite a few showcase manufacturers and even companies that specialise in security installations, but no-one could offer a solution which met all of the specification criteria."

Benan and his team then met with Armour Systems, the showcase brand of Conservation by Design (CXD), a specialist manufacturer of museum display cases and cabinets based in Milton Keynes. Although they had never produced anything like this before, they were quick to take up the challenge and were confident they could meet the brief. Benan added: "The team from Armour Systems CXD initially met with me in Dublin, and then the client and I went over to their factory in Milton Keynes. Together we were able to develop a design which offered the high level of security, conservation properties and ease of use that was required. It was a very challenging installation and we were extremely impressed with how they managed the complex detailed design and manufacture of this bespoke showcase."

The showcase is designed to look simple and elegant with a glass vitrine top mounted on a satin lacquered plinth. Discreet LED lighting all around the underside of the plinth creates a lifted floating effect to the whole structure. Designed to give visitors an unhampered view of the exhibit, the frameless glass top is made from low reflective security glass of almost twice the standard thickness to resist penetration and is raised and lowered for access using a remote interface. All materials specified for internal use are of conservation grade to preserve and protect the relic.

In the event of an attack or tampering, seismic detectors in the case trigger a mechanism that lowers the Shrine into a protected steel enclosure, and can only be recovered by way of a secure process. Security systems are also carefully integrated with the church's existing burglar and fire alarms.

The interlocking mechanisms were built using a series of highly efficient and reliable electric ball screw actuators, all synchronized and automated to manage inputs from sensors and switches and controlled via a secure interface panel.

Andrew Gascoigne, from Armour Systems CXD commented: "This was certainly a very unusual brief and had lots of challenges. We hadn't created anything like this before so it was a really exciting project to work on. The design and technical team liaised closely with Benan and the client to produce the design using the latest 3D modelling software. As with all our products, the design was then prototyped, manufactured and tested in house before being installed at Boher Church in May."

Conservation By Design Strengthens Archival Offer

Conservation By Design Strengthens Archival Offer

Conservation By Design has acquired the Archival Aids brand, a range of specialist products for the treatment, repair and preservation of paper, manuscripts, books, leather and metals.

The Archival Aids product range will continue to be stocked by CXD as part of its comprehensive portfolio of solutions for conservation professionals. Customers can choose from Archival Aids full collection of restoration and preservation materials including adhesives, acid-free labels and chemicals, as well as deacidification, lamination and leather treatment equipment.

The move marks an important strategic step in CXDs development plans. It enables the business to continue offering the current market leading range of Archival Aids products, in addition to developing the brands product offer and quality to meet the needs of museums, galleries, libraries and archives around the globe.

Conservation By Design's managing director, Dirk Hendrickx, said: "We are delighted to have brought the Archival Aids brand into the Conservation by Design global family, which offers customers an unrivalled portfolio of conservation solutions all under one roof. The brands strong heritage in developing solutions for conservators in partnership with leading libraries and museums throughout Europe mirrors our own ethos. Were looking forward to developing the product range further to meet the needs of archivists and conservators around the world."

Conservation By Design Acquire Armour Systems

Conservation By Design Acquire Armour Systems

Conservation By Design (CXD), has strengthened its portfolio of conservation storage, equipment and display equipment with the acquisition of the Armour Systems brand, a specialist manufacturer of museum display cases and cabinets.

The resulting introduction of the Armour Systems showcase brand to CXDs existing product line-up marks an important strategic step in the companys long term development plans, and further strengthens its position as the leading provider of high quality conservation, storage and display products for museums, galleries and archives across the globe.

Conservation By Designs managing director, Dirk Hendrickx, said: "Armour Systems showcase brand already have a strong reputation for high quality design and as such they make a natural addition to CXDs extensive brand proposition.

"This acquisition brings together not only an exquisite product collection, but also the technical experience and know-how of the Armour Systems team. When combined with CXDs well-respected, international presence, this addition to our offering will enable us to continue providing customers with a vast selection of high quality conservation equipment, backed up by the service excellence for which we are renowned."

Andy Gascoigne, managing director of Armour Systems, added: "This move marks the start of a momentous new chapter in the successful history of Armour Systems. Were looking forward to continued development as part of a global company with an outstanding conservation pedigree and to maximising the growth opportunities that this offers."

For more information about CXDs collection of Armour Systems showcases, call 01908 377333

Groundbreaking High Clarity Storage from CXD is Clear Winner

Groundbreaking High Clarity Storage from CXD is Clear Winner

Conservation storage, equipment and display specialist, Conservation By Design (CXD), has added to its extensive range of high clarity album pages with the introduction of Crystal Polyester Type 2  - an album page of such clarity, it could go virtually unnoticed.

Designed specifically to provide crystal clear optical quality for the storage and display of photographs, documents and ephemera, Crystal Polyester Type 2 Album Pages also deliver greater rigidity than the existing HCL range of album pages.

Manufactured from conservation grade, 100-micron, pure polyester, the new album pages are Photographic Activity Test (PAT) approved for safe, long-term storage. They are available in a number of variations to suit the users requirements.

Chris French, Product Development Manager for CXD, said: "We are a company committed to innovation, and our new Crystal Polyester Type 2 Album Pages showcase the very latest advancements in conservation storage and display. This is the greatest improvement in polyester album products for 30 years.

"The clarity offered by this range is unparalleled. Its introduction means our customers can now benefit from the unobstructed view of their items without compromising on conservation quality or strength. Due to their stability and chemically inert properties, Crystal Polyester Type 2 Album Pages are now the clearest choice for preservation conscious collectors."
Crystal Polyester Type 2 Album Pages are available in the full and growing range of 'pocket' sizes providing flexible, conservation grade storage in one ringbinder box. Each pocket has a binder edge (25mm), with four holes punched at 80mm centres, and will accept a hanging bar for alternative use in a filing cabinet. Pocket entry is gained either from the short or long side of the page.

For more information and a detailed specification on the range of products Conservation By Design offers, call 01234 846 300

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CXD Catalogue Front Cover

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