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Conservation of Rare Law Books 2008-2009

Replacement Frontboard

Sir Thomas Littleton. Littleton’s Tenures in English: Lately Perused and Amended. London: Printed for the Companie of Stationers, 1627.

Littleton's Tenures before treatment

Littleton’s Tenures may be considered the first systematic treatment on the English law of property, summarizing a mixture of Anglo-Saxon custom and Anglo-Norman feudalism. The first edition of Tenures appeared in 1481 or 1482 in Law French. The imprint was one of the earliest books printed in London and the earliest treatise on English law printed anywhere. The treatise continued in use for centuries, and became fundamental to the eventual articulation of the English common law by William Blackstone in the 1760s.

Brief Summary of Conservation Treatment

Conserved by: Stephanie Gowler         Length of Treatment: 10 Hours

Littleton's Tenures after treatment

The nineteenth-century binding is a hollow tube, tight-joint binding with laced-on boards of brown vegetable-tanned calf. The leather was sprinkled with acid and then blind tooled – a panel/frame design on the boards and on either side of the 5 false bands on the spine. Before conservation the binding was in poor condition overall, with the top board missing completely, the back board loose, and many small losses to the leather. The textblock opening was also extremely constricted due to an earlier rebind.

Ms. Gowler removed the spine with a small spatula, cleaned and lined the spine to enhance the textblock opening. She then attached a new front board and reinforced back board with hinge under the leather spine piece. The front board was created with a new piece of acid free cardboard and covered with a scanned and toned image of the back board.

For more information see the full Conservation Treatment Report