Monday, June 7th, 2010...11:10 am

Hours of labor

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[Thanks to Lake Conservator Mary Oey for contributing this post.]

Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

This is a first edition copy of Lord Byron’s Hours of Idleness, owned by Byron’s friend John Cam Hobhouse. Hobhouse bought the book and had it rebound with alternating blank interleaves, which he energetically filled with editorializing remarks and other — often snarky — comments (although he apparently lost steam about a third of the way through the book and the remaining interleaves are mostly blank). Hobhouse’s own thoughts on his annotations, years later, are inscribed on the front flyleaf (above).

The book, currently in Houghton’s exhibition, “Let Satire Be My Song”: Byron’s English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, required conservation as the book had broken into seven separate pieces.

Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

I separated the leaves from each other

Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

and resewed them with the same thread pattern used by the binder who had interleaved the book.

Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

The boards were reattached using the flat extensions of the white sewing supports visible in the picture above on the right. I recovered the spine of the book with a new, matching paper and pasted the original spine fragments back into place.

Before:
Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

After:
Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

Before:
Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

After:
Hours of Idleness, *EC8.B9968.807ha

You can see this book on display in Houghton’s current exhibition, “Let Satire Be My Song”: Byron’s English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, up until July 31st.

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