Photo Documentation

Left cover: before treatment

Right cover: before treatment

Tail: before treatment

Title page: before treatment

Drawing 1: before treatment

Left cover: after treatment

Right cover: after treatment

Tail: after before treatment

Title page: after treatment

Drawing 1: after treatment

Treatment Record Documentation

First Gathering:

Conservator: Xiaoping Cai

Date of Issue: 22/06/2015

Date of Completion: 13/07/2015

Title: Original Pencil Sketches Made In The Streets Of Liverpool, Vol 1.

Artist: Hugh Magenis

Date Created: 1884

Owner: Record Office, Liverpool Central Library

Shelf Mark: H/Q741/91/MAG

A Brief description of the object: 58 original pencil drawings in a sketch book with manuscript indices, housed in a quarto box. This is one of the three volumes of Hugh Magenis’s sketches books held by Liverpool Central Library. 

Number of leaves:  27 leaves (include fly leaves)



This sketch book is an adhesive, three-piece case binding with flat and tight spine, bound on the shorter side of the bookblock. It is fully covered in cloth, with black on the spine and red on the sides. Originally the spine was cover with black leather, but the material used on the sides is unknown. There is a piece of spine inlay, which covers the inner side of the case and extends to the edges of the boards. Both the black spine piece and spine inlay were cut to the heights of the boards, with no turn ins. The spine of the case adhered to the spine of the textblock. Originally, the boards were attached to the textblock by the method of endleaves attachment, with the sewing support adhering onto the outside of the boards.


The textblock is sewn on a flat sewing support with two sewing holes, there are also two kettle stitch stations at head and tail of the textblock. No spine lining is visible. The edges of the textblock are trimmed, but every page has a thin strip of paper pasted on its foredge side. The fold endleaves of decorated paper are different from the text. Originally the outermost endleaves were pasted to the boards as pastedowns, and the flyleaves were fully adhered to their adjacent pages. The previous repair made the flyleaves into part of the fist and last gatherings. There is a tipped-on, single leave of title page on the front flyleaf, which also includes annotations of titles of the sketches inside written with iron gall ink. There are two small labels and a bookplate pasted on the left pastedown. Also, there is another bookplate pasted on the right pastedown. 


The gathering structure of the textblock almost can not be seen. Both the first and last gatherings comprise of 6 folded sheets of cream coloured, machine-made paper, with narrow strips of cloth as sewing guards on the outside of the gathering. The middle part comprises of 42 single leaves, which suggests that originally there might be 9 gatherings in total. The main type of media is graphite, and there are also some other media throughout the text, including watercolour, iron gall inks and purple colour pencil. The drawings were on both sides of almost every leaf.  



The binding is in poor condition overall. The boards are intact, but the upper board is curved and the surface is not smooth. Both the black spine piece and white spine inlay are torn at head and tail. The adhesive on the spine is degraded and thus the case cover detached from the textblock. The sewing thread is broken and the sewing support is brittle. The pastedowns broken at the inner joint are left without reinforcement.


The textblock is in poor condition overall with deteriorated paper, a few inappropriate repairs inside and discolouration throughout. The paper supports themselves have little fold strength and is vulnerable to handling. The title page has a long crease and tear on the spine edge, and a loss on the foredge side. Many folded areas of the bifolios are broken and thus become single separated leaves. All the paper strips pasted on the foredge side are brittle and many of them either have tears or split away from their corresponding pages and thus the original sequence is lost.


Almost every page has the previous repair on the spine edge with thin tissue, and the colour of repair tissue turns darker. The first and last gathering were guarded with a cloth. The cloth is too heavy for the brittle paper, and thus cause the paper to tear at the joint area.


The media of graphite offsets from one page to another. And some of the iron gall ink on the title page turn brown. 



Many of those added paper strips on the foredge had creases and required flattening. The method of mild humidification was considered, so the media on top of them had to be tested for water solubility. 

Examination/Test: Used a tiny brush, a small water droplet is placed on the media to be tested for 20 seconds, then blotted.

Observation: Iron gall ink-no offset



(1) Surface cleaning.

(2) Disbind, remove previous repair tissue and cloth.

(3) Repair all the tears, fill the losses and consolidate the brittle leaves.

(4) Re-create bifolio format and section structure. Re-sew to allow better opening.

(5) Re-attach the cover. The reattachment will be reinforced with two integral, undersize endleaves.

(6) Re-house in a four-flaps made with acid-free material. 



(1) Very careful surface cleaning by using chemical sponge and eraser particles.

(2) Matched up those separated small paper strips to their corresponding pages. Small polyester pockets are used for colleting all the splitting strips, which give protection to them and help to reconstruct the order.

(3) Removed all the historical repair tissue on the spine edges by using 3% Methylcellulose(MC) poultice.

Note: All the historical repair tissues are quite easy to be removed. However, there are some darker  traces left.

(4) Removed the cloth guarding material on the first and last gathering by using 3% Methylcellulose(MC) poultice.

(5) Gently humidified those brittle paper strips, and adhered a layer of Japanese paper to the back of  each of them. And then reattached them to their corresponding for-edge side. For those which have losses, Japanese paper is used as infills.  

(6) Guarded those totally separated leaves by using thin but strong Japanese tissue, which is transparent enough that the drawing underneath could be seen. Made the repaired leaves into 9 triple bifolio gatherings. Two extra guards of Japanese paper were used to hold the first and last section, with a flap on the outside.

 (7) The sewing was done through the original sewing holes and over a new strip of tape, with a thin linen thread.

 (8) Adhered a piece of Japanese paper as lining material on the spine of the text-block. A Manila paper strip was used to  make a hollow spine and then it was pasted down on top of the lining material.

 (9) Removed the lining material on the inner side of the spine.

Note: After the lining material have been removed, it is found that the cloth of the spine is not the original one and some blind tooling pattern can still be seen on top of it. And the cloth is not strong enough to be reused. Therefore, it is decided that this piece of cloth will be removed and a new one will replace it.

 (10) Removed the black spine piece of the cover from the boards.  The pastedown flaps of 2 cm wide were lifted. The flaps of cloth cover were also lifted for 2 cm.

Note: After the paste-down has been lifted, there are some leather and cloth residue can be seen.  It suggests that the original covering material was black leather on the spine and black cloth on the sides.

 (11) Pasted the fly strips of Japanese paper and the sewing support to the inside of the board.

 (12) Cut a piece of black leather as the spine covering piece, the length is equal to the height of the

        boards plus extra turn ins at head and tail. Pared it around the edges. 

 (13) Pasted it to the spine and inserted between the cloth and the boards. Pasted down the turn in. Re-adhered the lifted cloth and rubbed it down firmly. Opened the cover of the sketchbook and let it stand vertically, until the leather got dry. 

 (14) Rehoused in a four-flaps box with acid-free manila board.




         Cover Profile:



















Title page

Cloth guard


Last Gathering:


Cloth guard