FAMILY BIBLE REPAIR
For 30 years we have
been carrying out family Bible repair and
restoration. Our workshops were based in the grounds of an active monastery
in Somerset, England, perhaps for that reason we had far more than our fair share of family Bible repair.
Looking at our receipts I see we had about 15 large format family Bibles in for repair a
Here in our workshops in south west France we continue to specialise in family Bible repair and
restoration of sacred texts, we send and receive books by secure delivery to Europe and the USA. We are
also qualified and experienced in the repair of paper artifacts, such as family records and
During the nineteenth century the family Bible was regarded as
being more than just scripture inspired by the word of God.
They became devotional objects in their own right. Often
ascribed the most important place in the home, and quite often containing family records and memories in the
form of pressed flowers or letters.
The Protestant faith of the time, worshiped the living Word, and placed value on
sermons over ritual, it is no surprise then that these family Bibles became such iconic
Bible houses of the day catered to this market by producing
massive family Bibles, complete with commentaries, coluor & black and white illustrations, family
history pages for recording births and deaths, and covers that harked back in style to the medieval
So they became the altar of domestic spirituality, a
place where the sacred life of the family met the sacred life of the church fathers and prophets.
Unfortunately the structure of most of these family Bibles lacked the integrity of the contents.
In terms of design, many of these tomes harked back to medieval styles of binding, at least in
These books had massive boards, often half an inch thick or
more. In further imitation of mediaeval bindings, they often came with clasps and decorative corners; some
had protective brass edging extending right around the board edges.
These brass plated fittings added to the weight of the covers,
and are one factor that leads up to a family Bible needing repair.
Another factor was the choice of thin sheepskin leather, so
often chosen, to cover the book in; this leather was just not up to the task of supporting the heavy
During the 18th & 19th century massive amounts of fossil fuels were burnt to feed the
industrial revolution, this resulted in high levels of dilute sulphuric acid in the
In the long term these acids rotted the leather that covered the
book, in particular the part of the binding where the book hinges becomes very weak, that is why it is so
common to find the front board detached from the binding.
With the advent of lithographic printing, colour illustrations
found there way into family Bibles.
Often the publishers harked back to the time of the
mediaeval illuminated manuscript in their style of printing.
Sometimes bronze powder was used to imitate the gilded lettering of the illuminated
When undertaking a family bible repair, particular attention is
paid to any family history pages. They are to be found in many family Bibles, and where they do still
exist they can be a superb resource for genealogy.
The generations are listed, as the Bible is passed down through
the family, so it can become a great help in filling out and starting a family tree.
Unfortunately these pages are sometimes very worn and brittle
and need expert treatment to preserve them.
As well as having 30 years experience in family Bible
repair, we are also qualified and experienced in the repair and conservation of paper artifacts.
This is an example of damp staining and page damage from an 18th century Bible.
It is not possible to remove all types of stains from paper, but this particular example of
damp staining to a 280 year old paper, responds well to treatment.
Using conservation methods it is possible to carry out almost invisible repairs to such
documents as this.
In general, the older a paper is the happier the conservator
will probably be, as pre 1800 papers may well have much more strength than many papers made
As mentioned we send books by secure delivery, all over Europe and the USA.
Rest assured your precious books and documents are safely sent and received, and while in our
care receive only professional treatment.
Our experience has taught us what to expect and all we would need from you would be some good
quality pictures of the book or documents to be repaired, plus information we can glean from talking with one
From these pictures we would come up with a firm quotation for the work involved.
When completed we would send you pictures of the completed work for your approval.
Our family Bible repair service is second to none. If you have a family bible that needs expert
repair, or perhaps you have family records in need of conservation, please do mail me at the address below and we
can discuss things further.
EVERY MONTH I SEND OUT THE BOOKBINDERS DIGEST. WHICH AIMS TO BRING YOU INTERESTING ITEMS CONCERNING THE WORLD OF
BOOKBINDING AND RELATED CRAFTS. IF YOU WOULD CARE TO SUBSCRIBE PLEASE JUST MAIL ME PUTTING "EDEN" IN THE SUBJECT