A volume from the 16th c. royal library

Conservation of a book from the 16th century royal library of Sigismundus II Augustus, a king of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania. 

Vilnius University Library, Rare Book Department,  document No. II 4708-4712a.

Rare and precious volume of several 16th century prints with a very damaged binding. A part of the text-block was missing and provoking further damage of the spine, breaking of cords, leather, parchment linings, etc. Since the remaining binding provides valuable historical information, it was treated with especially strong emphasis on minimal intervention. The preservation of the original shape of the book and compensation of the structural losses was ensured by unattached inserts made of archival quality materials.

Conservation by Ieva Rusteikaitė.

Photographed by Raimondas Malaiška.


Note. Due to the fact that pictures were taken in different periods, there might be slight color differences in the photographs.



  • Dust
  • Dirt and stains
  • Tears, deformation and paper loss in the pages, especially pages inf the front and the endleaves
  • Loss of the 1/4 of the text-block
  • Important deformation of the binding
  • Broken sewing support
  • Detachment of several leaves
  • Broken transversal spine linings
  • Loose upper board
  • Broken boards, almost half the upper board is completely lost
  • Important loss of covering leather
  • Leather previously treated with heavy animal glue
  • Very fragile remaining fragment of the spine leather
  • Almost completely lost clasps

Treatment applied

  • Dry cleaning
  • Repair of tears and paper loss
  • Making of an insert to compensate the lost part of the text-block
  • Repair and consolidation of the sewing supports
  • Reattachment of the loose leaves
  • Loose board attachment
  • Repair of the broken spine linings
  • Consolidation and attachment of the remaining leather spine fragment
  • Making an insert to compensate the upper board loss
  • Retouch

Materials introduced during the treatment

  • Wheat starch paste
  • Dyed custom-made laid paper (cotton & hemp fibers)
  • Japanese tissue
  • Linen tread
  • Parchment linings
  • Archival quality cardboard for the inserts
  • Linen cords