We recently had the pleasure of conserving a set of books that once belonged to Queen Anne; she was queen from 1702-1714. She was the last of the Stuarts, the Scottish royal lineage. She had 17 pregnancies with no surviving children of those 17 pregnancies. Only five children were not stillborn, and of those five, four died before the age of two, and her oldest surviving son died at the age of 11. It has been said she may have had lupus, and in her later years of life she became depressed and extremely obese and suffered from gout. Talk about a hard life of pain and sadness!
This set of books is a Book of Common Prayer, the Old Testament, and the New Testament from 1709. Our client requested we conserve these books, with very little restoration. (Conservation aims to stop any current deterioration of the book, as well as limit further damage. Restoration aims to bringing the book back to its original state and strength as far as archival methods will allow.) We stabilized the bindings, reattached one of the covers, reinforced the hinges, and finished with light leather restoration. We then built a presentation enclosure with a sturdy hard-covered chemise. The cover of the enclosure is tooled to resemble the bindings, with a lovely painting of Queen Anne recessed on the front cover.
We loved preserving these special books, and now they'll last many years to come.