On Monday I visited the archive of Barings Bank, the oldest merchant bank in London, founded in 1762, until its collapse in 1995 after one of its employees lost £827 million. Barings was bought by the Dutch bank ING in 1995 for £1.
The archive is held at the offices of ING on London Wall, it chronicles the banks accounts from its beginning to its end. The purpose of my visit was to source a suitable project to accompany the spring back binding from the CH Museum for my final project, and there was plenty to chose from. The Barings archive is a previously untapped source of book conservation apart from last year, when Francesca Lemass compiled a survey of its bindings for her MA project at Camberwell. There are about 21 tacketed account bindings in surprisingly good shape for their age and that they were probably used constantly. A few are in pretty bad condition with the leather panels and tackets missing, or the spine spilt and damaged.
And these are the bindings I’ve chosen:
These bindings will be delivered to the Uni, and I’ll start working on them at the beginning of April after the proposal and documentation are complete.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve decided on the research element of the project – it’ll be something along the lines of… Common studio practices in the conservation of parchment, which materials and adhesive are the most popular choices of conservators working today, and can they be improved with minimal, cash, effort and training.