As was discussed in last week’s video, in the digital age, the physical object of the book has in many ways become something more precious. Rick Anderson has often noted that one of the ongoing roles of the librarian is the curation and care of rare and historical materials. The Scholarly Kitchen recently featured a guest book review from the University of Utah’s “Preservation Librarian”, and it’s perhaps worth recognizing this different sort of craftsmanship.

But what happens when your role is the restoration of something 350 years old and nearly 11 feet wide? The video below, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looks at the restoration of Charles Le Brun’s “Everhard Jabach and His Family” to pristine condition.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


1 Thought on "Restoring a Masterwork"

David, thank you for sharing this short treat. It was timely for me. This week I just retrieved a painting by Robert Brackman, a portrait painter of some renown, from a 3-month restoration. The portrait is of Douglas Tracy Smith, a man who funded an endowed chair in the English department at Yale University and an endowment at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Ct. The painting was worth the effort and expense on its own merits, but the two institutions had still more reason to care for the work – as well as the resources. Both refused. Baffling. I have the sense from this and other experiences that far more work goes uncurated than not.

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