Restoring a Precious Incunabulum from Solesmes Abbey: La Reliure du Limousin's Restoration Journey

Thanks to the generous support of the Etrillard Foundation, La Reliure du Limousin, a MEMORIST division, has undertaken the restoration of an illuminated incunabulum dating from 1497: the Hours for the Use of Rome, from Solesmes Abbey. This precious work required special attention to preserve it and bring it to light.

La Reliure : projet de restauration d'un précieux incunable de l'Abbaye de Solesmes

Initial inspection and challenges

During the initial inspection, a number of major alterations were noted, including a non-original binding in paper on board, broken seams, tears, gaps and ink stains on certain pages. Faced with these challenges, our craftsmen implemented a meticulous restoration process, aiming to revive the incunabulum’s originality and significance.


Meticulous restoration process

The restoration process was conducted with utmost care and precision. It began with careful de-stitching to free the signatures from the stitching supports, followed by meticulous dry-cleaning to remove glue residue and dust. The parchment leaves were then restored, with tears delicately consolidated and gaps expertly filled using high-quality materials, preserving the integrity of the original work while ensuring its structural stability for years to come.


Sewing and binding

After digitising the book, our craftsmen sewed it with linen thread in a herringbone pattern on five double leather bands. They also created headbands and a new binding in brown calfskin. To safeguard the restored masterpiece from the passage of time and environmental hazards, a bespoke conservation box was meticulously crafted.


Tribute to craftsmanship and heritage preservation

The final result is a tribute to craftsmanship and the preservation of written heritage. We are grateful to our restorers for their dedication and expertise in bringing this 15th-century treasure back to life. La Reliure du Limousin is committed to rigorously preserving the history and essence of each piece entrusted to their care, thereby helping to ensure that our written heritage is preserved for future generations.

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