By Emma Philip, curator of Fine Art
On Monday 29th July we began work on the biggest changeover of furniture yet in the Cottonian Gallery. The biggest bookcase in the collection, wittily christened as ‘The Big One’ to those of us on the project team, was off to conservation at Tankerdale.
‘The Big One’ contains over 300 books, from small paperback-sized ones to huge volumes of prints the size of several coffee-table books put together! As before, every book needed to be removed before Chris and Allan could begin to dismantle the bookcase, so Neil, Jackie and I had a long day’s work.
All of the Cottonian’s 2000 books are catalogued according to their position on each shelf, and so we had to be very careful to keep the decanted books in exactly the same order at all times.
On the plus side, it did give us an opportunity to briefly check out the condition of the books whilst we handled them, and to replace some of the acid free paper shelf linings as we worked.
In addition to emptying the Big One, we also had to replace the books in cabinet 2, and our glazed front bookcase, which came back from Tankerdale at the same time. All in all, it was a very busy three days’ work indeed!