Conservation Documentation

Title: Jewellery Design Album

Creator: Godman and Rabey

Date: 1928 - 1980

Owner: Victoria and Albert Museum

Reference code: AAD/2005/1

Conservator: Xiaoping Cai

Date started: 02/01/2016

Date finished: 04/26/2016

Background Information:

This album is part of the collection of the Archive of Art and Design unit, which holds the working papers of individual artists and designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design.


It contains designs and costings records, loose sheets of designs, which was created by Godman and Rabey, a leading firm of jewelers and diamond mounters, was founded in London in 1918. The firm supplied some of the most prestigious jewellery companies, including Boucheron and Chaumet. The firm's designs chart changing fashions in jewellery from Art Deco style to the 1980s and illustrate the processes of commission, design and approval, as well as detailing precise costs for the making of each item. Godman and Rabey ceased to trade in 1983.

This album, along with another two jewellery design albums, were given by Alan Rabey Victoria and Albert Museum Archives in 2005.



The binding is in poor condition overall. There is no covering material left. The right board is detached and the left board is attached only by the sewing thread. There are tape residues around the edges of the boards.


The overall sewing is still intact, with the last section splitting from the text block. The loose sheets of designs are attached to the text-block with either pressure sensitive tape or metal staples. The tapes are degraded and some of the carriers were detached, leaving the adhesive mass sticky. The adhesive from the tape are oxidized, which causing staining and discoloration to the designs and the support papers. Some of the metal staples are rusted and abraded the paper. 

There are inter-leaves of transparent paper inserting between the leaves of the album, which were probably added to prevent the sticky adhesive from adhering the designs next to it.  But these inter-leaves were added by means of staples at head and tail of the spine edge, which cause the paper to tear easily when the pages are flexed. The inter-leaves themselves are also discolored and become very brown.


The papers of the text-block are in poor condition, with numerous tears and small losses, especially at the for-edge side. Most of the designs are drawn on tracing paper, and some of which are brittle and becomes fragmented.



  1. The surface of each page were cleaned by using a soft brush and chemical sponges.

  2. All the metal stables that causing tears were removed by using a small spatula.

  3. Carrier of pressure sensitive tapes that were severely degraded or became loose were removed. And the sticky adhesive residue was removed by using a crepe rubber.

  4. Paper repair were carried out in situ by using Tengujo 11gsm and wheat starch paste.

  5. For those designs on tracing paper that completely came off, Japanese paper hinges were made to reattach them. For the photos that came off, photo corners were made to keep them in their original positions.

  6. The inter-leaves were replaced with silicone release cut to size. A folded stub was created for every sheet of silicone release. And then they were attached along the spine edge with the mixture of EVA and wheat starch paste.

  7. The first section was removed and the paper was repaired. Then a paper guard was added to the outside of the section to reinforce the spine fold.

  8. Two endleaves sections were prepared with the archival rag paper(120gsm). Two bifolios were tipped together first, and the outer sheet was wrapped around. Then a waste sheet was tipped on(see Fig.1 & 2).


Fig.2 Diagram of the endleaves section structure

9. The sewing structure was strengthened by applying linen embroid over the sewing station, leaving the slips about 30mm on each side. Then linen thread was used to sew them together with the original sewing holes. The first section and the endleaves sections were attached to the textblock with link stitch sewing.

10. A layer of Nao K37 was applied over the spine as a reinforcement.

11. The spine was lined with linen cloth, overhanging each side by 30mm. Then the cloth extension and linen embroid were pasted down onto the waste sheet. The waste sheet was folded back on itself.(see Fig.3 )


12. New split boards were prepared by using a 1.8mm and 1.3mm boards. The 1.8mm board were cut short grain. Then the boards were glued together using the mixture of EVA and wheat starch paste. Sandpapered the spine edge of the board, to get a slightly rounded transition.

13. The spine was lined with two layers of western hand made paper by using wheat starch paste. When it was fully dry, the spine was sanded to reach a smooth spine.

14. A one-on-two-off hollow was made by using archival craft brown 120 gsm and it was attached to the spine. The hollow was split at head and tail, and it was trimmed short of the boards. A strip of alum tawed skin, which was cut to depth of the square, was adhered to the inside of the outer hollow at both head and tail (see Fig. 4).

14. The album was covered with black buckram and the endpaper were attached to the inner side of the boards.

Fig.4 Diagram shows the structure of the hollow.


Left board: before treatment

Left board: after treatment

Spine: before treatment

Spine: after treatment

Tape removal:before treatment

Tape removal:after treatment

Inter leaf: before treatment

Inter leaf: after treatment

Opening characteristic: before treatment

Opening characteristic: after treatment