Conserve our Collections Event 2016
02 Dec 2016
On the 16th November we welcomed over 40 guests to our annual Conserve our Collections event. It’s an opportunity to promote the scheme and allow our guests to see items they have helped to conserve.
This year our guest speaker was Emmy Bocaege, an Anthropologist and Conservator. She talked about John Thomas Quekett’s work at the RCS, how the Quekett project came about and some of the project’s outcomes. Quekett was a pioneering histologist who built a collection of slides giving an amazing overview of the natural world on a microscopic scale. Emmy’s talk brought the subject alive. Afterwards, guests were able to view slides from the collection as well as Quekett’s diary for 1844 recording his work at the RCS and his Notebook of drawings and descriptions of histological specimens, 1840-1854.
After the lecture, guests were invited to enjoy a glass of wine with the opportunity to view some of the significant and rare items from our collections which are in need of conservation. These included:
- Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1754) : the book has been described as “the most famous colour-plate book of American plant and animal life … a fundamental and original work for the study of the American species” (from the Library’s collections)
- Notes on Lectures on Surgery given by Mr Astley Cooper of St Thomas’s Hospital London, Volume 1 (1797) and a Contract for materials and works (18 March 1852) giving detailed specifications and schedule of prices for materials and works for the erection of new buildings on site (from the Archives)
- An 18th century British amputation set, containing steel instruments with rosewood handles, made by Bodker and Savigny, in a badly damaged wooden case (from the Museum)
Also on display were examples of items which have already benefitted from conservation under the scheme such as William Cheselden’s Osteographia, or, The Anatomy of the Bones, (1733) . This was one of the items successfully highlighted last year as in need of conservation. Collections staff answered guest’s questions about the items on display resulting in lively discussions enjoyed by both sides.
We would like to thank everyone who supports the Conserve our Collections scheme and helps make this important conservation work possible. Since the scheme was launched in 2013, over £28,000 has been raised allowing us to conserve 12 Archives, 23 Books and 11 Objects and Specimens.
Last week’s Library Blog post, A very large collection of very small things, focused on the RCS’s collection of Quekett’s slides.
Susan Isaac, Information Services Manager
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Hannah Cornish, Collections Assistant