This article is about a Victorian leather-bound photograph album repair.
The 3rd of my ‘most satisfying jobs of 2015’ was to work on this late 19th century family photograph album. The album had been compiled by it’s elderly owner’s grandfather. It had suffered the ravages of time. Pages had come loose and the covers and spine had detached over the years. The owner was keen to have the album restored to pass on to future generations of their family. They wanted to be able to look at the photographs without fear of causing further damage. The images below give a good impression of how the album looked when it arrived. The contents were in good order but the binding was falling to bits:
Photograph album restoration process
A number of pages in the album had become detached. The first task was to add new linen reinforcements and re-sew them into the block of album pages. Following this, the corners of the the covers were rebuilt and re-covered in matching leather. The covers were then re-attached and the volume rebacked in leather. This required the creation of a new leather spine. The remains of the original spine were mounted onto this.
Missing portions of the gold decoration were re-tooled to match the remaining original decoration. The rubbed areas of the original leather covering were then re-coloured to their original tone. Finally, the binding was treated with a preservative leather dressing. Preserved for future generations, the album pages can be looked at without fear of damage to the binding or contents. Here’s how the album looked before it was returned to the owner. The images show what can be achieved with a photograph album repair: