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 year.
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
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, color & black and white
illustrations, family history pages for recording births
and deaths, and covers that harked back in style to the
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
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
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 boards.
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
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
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
Unfortunately these pages are sometimes very
worn and brittle and need expert treatment to preserve
As well as having 30 years experience
in family Bible repair, we are also qualified and
experienced in the repair and conservation of paper
In these pictures you can see what we can
We carry out no bleaching.
With proper practice it is possible to make
almost miraculous improvements to a document.
In general, the older a paper is the happier
the conservator will be, as older papers may well have
more strength than modern papers. These examples are
from an 18th century Bible.
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
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.
Richard Norman firstname.lastname@example.org
EVERY MONTH I SEND OUT THE
BOOKBINDERS DIGEST. WHICH AIMS TO BRING YOU INTERESTING ITEMS
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THE SUBJECT LINE.