Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Corner Repair for a Bound 1916 Vivaldi Cello Music Score

The cello music collections at UNCG's Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) constitute the largest single holding of cello music-related materials in the world, a fact of which we are very proud and have likely mentioned on this blog before. At times, items from the cello music collection may be diverted to Preservation Services for treatment for a variety of reasons, but age, quality of the original materials, how items were stored prior to arriving at UNCG, and how items were used are all contributing factors to items needing repair.

Vivaldi's Sonate Antiche (note the missing corner on the back cover)

One such item in the lab for treatment currently is a 1916 bound cello music score, a copy of Vivaldi's Sonate Antiche with performance notes in the hand of Luigi Silva. 

Left: Luigi Silva, Right: His handwritten notes on a cello score

Luigi Silva (1903-1961) was a prominent cellist, teacher, and musicologist who began his illustrious career in Italy and eventually immigrated to the United States. Silva taught at various Schools of Music including Eastman, Julliard, Mannes, and Yale University. We are pleased to house the Luigi Silva Collection of approximately 1775 music scores and 13 boxes of archival materials, books, and periodicals.

Silva's copy of Vivaldi's Sonate Antiche had detached covers, brittle and acidic paper, and was missing the lower corner of the back cover. Aside from spine repair and mending of some of the pages, we needed to replace the missing cover corner so the book could safely stand on the shelf in SCUA.

Missing corner of the back cover

Part of the book board was missing altogether and what remained was delaminating at the corner and quite thin. 

It was necessary to build up the corner to both the original thickness and rigidity. The missing piece was replaced with a piece of archival museum board sandwiched on either side with a gray lining card (often used as a spine stiffener in spine repair). See the diagram and in-progress photos below.

A diagram of the materials used to rebuild the corner
The rebuilt corner before covering material is added

Once the corner had been built up to the thickness of the original board, the missing corner cloth was replaced.

The replaced corner cloth

In order to more closely match the original decorative paper covering material, we photocopied the cover and used the resulting image to fill what was missing. With the aid of mylar, we traced the ragged edge of the original paper so that the new covering material would overlap only as much as needed.

The steps for tracing the jagged edge, transferring it to the new paper,
and replacing the missing decorative paper

Once the cover paper was replaced, we used the same technique with a corner of handmade paper to fill what was missing on the interior paste down.

The new interior corner pastedown

Though the repair is not completely disguised, it is much more integrated than if we had used a solid colored paper for the exterior covering material and the strength and structure of the corner is greatly improved.
Before and after the corner was replaced

For more information about the Luigi Silva Collection please click here. To explore other collections in our Cello Music Collection, please click here. Or, to visit the online collections or to visit Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, please click here.