Ligatus news

Ligatus runs workshop on the value of free software to education

Ligatus has recently organised a workshop on the value of free/libre software in education within the context of UAL. The official event booking page is here:

The workshop was attended by 12 open source enthusiasts. Following an interesting discussion on the issues surrounding propriatory software in education and the possibilities offered by open source software, the contributors had a chance to try GNU/Linux on their own laptops. An agreement to extend the group's activities was taken and we hope that a second workshop will soon follow.

Times Higher Education reports on Prof. Pickwoad and Ligatus

Please see a recent article on the Times Higher Education website with a reference to Ligatus and Prof. Pickwoad's talk:

And Nicholas Pickwoad, director of the Ligatus Research Centre (University of the Arts, London) drew on the history of bookbinding to set out “a really good reason to preserve real books”, since the “material object has locked up within it… a significant part of the history of the book, much of which is not accessible by other means”.

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad presents a new discovery at Amsterdam University Library

image of manuscript
On Thursday, 11 April 2013, Professor Pickwoad took part in the presentation at the Bijzondere Collecties of Amsterdam University Library of the discovery of two leaves from a lectionary written in about 860 in the royal scriptorium of Charles the Bald, King of the West Franks.

Professor Pickwoad found the leaves last summer on the binding of a copy of Jean Calvin, 'In viginti prima Ezechielis Prophetæ capita Prælectiones', Geneva: ex officina Francisci Perrini, 1565, whilst searching for books to use in teaching his course 'European Bookbinding 1450-1830' for the Bijzondere Collecties Summer School. By great good fortune, Professor Rosamond McKitterick was teaching on the summer school in the same week, and she was able almost immediately to identify the date and origin of the leaves. Twelve manuscripts are known from this scriptorium, and these leaves are evidence of a hitherto unrecorded thirteenth manuscript, probably written for the royal chapel itself. Most unusually, the leaves were treated with great respect by the binder, who arranged them to show the decorated frames and gold lettering on bands of purple complete and symmetrically on the binding.

A full account of the manuscript leaves by Professor McKitterick and of the binding by Professor Pickwoad will be published in the next issue of 'Quaerendo', due out this summer.

Presentation of the new Ligatus Decorated Paper Project to the Arbeitskreises Buntpapier meeting in Leipzig

Decorated papers on display at the Leipzig meeting, in the Deutschen Nationalbibliothek

Ligatus is conducting a new project, which aims to create an online tool for describing decorated papers. This tool is designed for non-specialists who wish to identify decorated papers found in/on books without having to rely either on written descriptions of such papers or having to attempt to describe them themselves. On February 22nd and 23rd, Aurelie Martin presented this project to the Decorated Paper Historians Group, during their annual meeting in Leipzig.

This group, which has been meeting for the past ten years, convenes book and paper conservators, paper historians, librarians and decorated paper makers. Its focus is the study of decorated paper through various aspects such as the identification of techniques or the problem of terminology. The presentation in Leipzig resulted in a potential collaboration between Ligatus and some of the specialists of the group. We will continue to work on the website in the coming months and hope to go public with a preliminary version later this year.

For more information, please contact or go to:

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad to present keynote lecture at the Baskerville conference

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad will be at the conference, John Baskerville: art, industry and technology in the Enlightenmentin Birmingham from 6-7th April. Contributing to the section, 'Baskerville and his products', Professor Pickwoad's lecture is titled: 'Books bound after what manner you please: English bookbinding in the mid-eighteenth century'.

For more information please go to:

Exhibition of Mudéjar bindings at The Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid

The exhibition entitled 'Piel sobre tabla', or in English, 'Leather on Wood' opens today at the The Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid. Focusing on Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages, where between 711 and 1609, Jews, Muslims and Christians shared a common space. This exhibition demonstrates how this co-habitation led to the development of a binding style called Mudéjar, unique to this area of Spain, through the extensive range of examples in the library's collection.

The exhibition runs from 12 March - 19 May, 2013.

Link to the The Biblioteca Nacional de España here:

Link to the English translation of the exhibition details here:

Meet the Ligatus team at the CCW Graduate School Research Degree Open Evening

Join Ligatus and the rest of CCW Graduate School to find out more about Research Degrees at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art & Design. The evening will be an opportunity to meet us, other staff and students involved with the research degree programme. You will hear a number of short presentations throughout the evening with an opportunity for you to network and ask questions. Information about funding opportunities will also be available.

Find out more about research degrees:

Monday 4th March 2013

Green Room, Chelsea College of Art & Design,
16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad, Director of the Ligatus Research Centre, presents his first lecture of 2013

Unfinished Business: Incomplete bindings made for the book trade from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century

While it was long assumed that most books in the handpress era were sold in unbound sheets, this has been challenged by the suggestion that many, if not most, books were sold bound. However, the survival of significant numbers of books as sewn bookblocks without covers, and with or without boards, offers another possibility: that the booktrade offered books for sale in an incomplete state, ready to be completed whenever that may have been required. This lecture looks at the surviving examples, the evidence for the practice, and its implications for the history of bookbinding.

Thursday 21 February, 2013
Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Art & Design (Atterbury Street Entrance) London, SW1P 4JW
Booking is advised Please contact to make a reservation


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