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Back A Book

Back a Book

The historic libraries at Magdalene College have aided scholarship and provided public enjoyment for centuries.

Through careful monitoring and professional conservation of the books, manuscripts and prints in the Pepys Library and the Old Library, we can ensure that these items are studied and exhibited for years to come.

You can be part of this preservation of history by 'backing a book' - supporting an item in our historic collections which is in need of professional conservation. On this page, we have selected items which are in need of repair for you to choose from and the cost of sponsorship.

New items for Back a Book 2021-2022 will be added during the summer.

Items for Conservation


'Proeven van letteren' by Jan Bus, c. 1690 (Pepys Library)

Cost to conserve: £245.00

‘Proeven van letteren’ is a broadsheet specimen of typefaces. It displays the exquisite work of Christoffel Van Dyck, the letter cutter, Jan Bus, his type founder, and Rabbi Joseph Athias, the printer. These specimen sheets would enable a printer to visualise how typefaces would display in different sizes and weights, and are now considered to be very attractive ephemeral items of printing.

'Proeven van letteren' by Jan Bus, c. 1690 (Pepys Library)

'Proeven van letteren' by Jan Bus, c. 1690 (Pepys Library)

There is a tear in this item which needs to be repaired. The volume in which it is inserted needs light surface cleaning and page flattening, and the volume's spine requires reinforcement.

Cost to conserve: £245.00


'The death of Robert, Earl of Huntington' by Anthony Munday, 1601 (Pepys Library)

Cost to conserve: £245.00

This play is one of two by Anthony Munday based on the legend of Robin Hood, performed by the Admiral's Company at the Rose Theatre in 1598. Both of these works are in this volume of 'Old Plays' collected by Pepys, amongst others by Thomas Nash, Robert Wilson, George Gascoigne and William Stevenson.

'The death of Robert, Earl of Huntington' by Anthony Munday, 1601 (Pepys Library)

'The death of Robert, Earl of Huntington' by Anthony Munday, 1601 (Pepys Library)

There are two page tears in this item which need repair. Surface cleaning will also take place, as well as reinforcement of the binding's corners.

Cost to conserve: £245.00


Grant of Barony to Lord Audley, 1538 (College Archives)

Cost to conserve: £525.00

The Grant of Barony and the Grant of Arms (below) are the most important documents relating to the history of the college in the archives. Thomas Audley was a trusted senior officer of state to Henry VIII, and became Lord Audley of Walden in 1538.

Grant of Barony to Lord Audley, 1538 (College Archives)

Grant of Barony to Lord Audley, 1538 (College Archives)

The document is in a frame at present, and needs to be removed, cleaned and rehoused in an appropriate custom-made buckram box prior to shelving in our new temperature-controlled archives store. A separate project will ensure that a high-quality reproduction of the document will be displayed in the existing frame.

Cost to conserve: £525.00


Grant of Arms to Lord Audley, 1538 (College Archives)

Cost to conserve: £525.00

The Grant of Arms and the Grant of Barony (above) are the most important documents relating to the history of the college in the archives. This charter displays the original form of heraldry adopted by the College, with the wings of the eagles folded. Thomas Audley was given permission by the King to refound the College with the name 'Magdalene' in 1542.

Grant of Arms to Lord Audley, 1538 (College Archives)

Grant of Arms to Lord Audley, 1538 (College Archives)

The document is in a frame at present, and needs to be removed, cleaned and rehoused in an appropriate custom-made buckram box prior to shelving in our new temperature-controlled archives store. A separate project will ensure that a high quality reproduction of the document will be displayed in the existing frame.

Cost to conserve: £525.00


The London Magazine: or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, London, 1745-1747 (Old Library)

Cost to conserve all three volumes: £700.00

The London Magazine was first established in 1732 and a collection of its earliest volumes are held in the Old Library. They contain letters, essays and pieces on a wide range of subjects, including literature, culture, politics and current affairs.

The London Magazine: or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, London, 1745-1747, Old Library

The London Magazine: or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, London, 1745-1747, Old Library

All three volumes need leather infilling to the spines and work needed to strengthen the attachment of the covers to the spine.  

The third volume needs more extensive work in this regard.

Cost to conserve all three volumes: £700.00


Treatise of three conversions of England from paganism to Christian religion, 1603 (Old Library)

Cost to conserve: £1400.00

Robert Parsons (1546-1610) was an English Jesuit priest and missionary, who wrote widely on the political and religious matters of his day. His 'Treatise of Three Conversions of England' was intended to counter the anti-Catholic interpretation of history espoused by Protestant historians such as John Foxe (1516/17-1587), author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

Treatise of three conversions of England from paganism to Christian religion, 1603, Old Library

Treatise of three conversions of England from paganism to Christian religion, 1603, Old Library

This volume needs extensive paper repairs, consolidation of spine lining, new end bands and restoration to the original cover.

Cost to conserve: £1400.00


Back A Book

If you would like to back a book, please complete the online donation form.

Back A Book Donation Form

Alternatively, if you would prefer to send a cheque please download complete and return the paper donation form.

Download Paper Donation Form

For those who support the conservation of an item in full, we will recognise your generous contribution in the following ways:

  • a 'Conservation Report' outlining the work undertaken on the item, with 'before and after' photos for personal study
  • acknowledgement in the online catalogue record of the book, if applicable (currently printed books only)
  • an acknowledgement in the Pepys Library section of the college website and the 'Friends of the Pepys Library' Newsletter

The 'lead time' for the conservation may vary, especially in the unlikely event of an emergency repair arising. However, we will keep in contact with you regarding the estimated timescale.

Backed Books

 

'Nuove inventioni di balli' by Cesare de Negri, 1604 (Pepys Library) - BACKED

This publication is considered one of the most important manuals of late-Renaissance dance. The book also provides unique information on noble families of Europe and their dancing masters in the second half of the sixteenth century.

'Nuove inventioni di balli' by Cesare de Negri, 1604 (Pepys Library)

'Nuove inventioni di balli' by Cesare de Negri, 1604 (Pepys Library)

The 'tailband' (a decorative band of silk which fastens inside the book's binding at the base of the spine) needs reattaching to this particular volume. The volume needs light surface cleaning, and the volume's spine requires reinforcement.


The book of the feat of arms and chivalry by Christine de Pisan, 1489 ; Dere militari by Vegetius, c14th (Pepys Library) - BACKED

This is an unusual example of a printed book and a manuscript bound in the same volume. This volume was the recent subject of an in-depth article by the Pepys Librarian on the Magdalene Libraries' blog.

The book of the feat of arms and chivalry by Christine de Pisan, 1489 ; Dere militari by Vegetius, c14th (Pepys Library)

The book of the feat of arms and chivalry by Christine de Pisan, 1489 ; Dere militari by Vegetius, c14th (Pepys Library)

 


Friends of the Pepys

Back a Book is run in parallel with our Friends of the Pepys Library and Historic Collections scheme. You do not need to be a member to back a book.

If you are interested in joining the Friends of the Pepys to keep up to date with news from the historic libraries please visit the Friends of the Pepys webpage or contact the Coordinator of the Friends Library at pepysfriends@magd.cam.ac.uk.