This article is about a Morocco binding reback and refurbishment.
This handsomely bound volume on Maori art would have looked splendid when new at the turn of the 20th century. It was almost certainly bound as a special ‘presentation’ copy of this work. However, many years of exposure to sunlight and central heating had dried out the Morocco leather covering. This had caused it to to loose its colour and become powdery and rubbed. The front hinge had eventually split as a result of the dryness of the leather.
Reback on a Morocco binding
The book’s decorative spine was removed and set aside. A new spine was created in Morocco to match the original covering material. This repaired the split hinge and firmly reunited the covers with the text block. The original spine which was essentially intact, was then mounted onto the new one. As a result, the new leather was only visible at the ends of the spine and along the hinges. Following this, a few small areas of missing gold tooling were re-tooled in gold to fill the gaps.
Next, the powdery and rubbed leather was consolidated to halt any further degradation. The whole binding was then carefully re-coloured back to it’s original navy blue. Finally, a coat of preservative leather dressing was applied to the whole binding.
Repair and renovation brought this handsome binding back to a condition close to how it would have looked when new. The re-colouring accentuated the visual effect of the lavish gold tooling on the spine and front cover. The Morocco binding reback preserved a fairly unique and attractive binding.