The Malta Independent 16 June 2019, Sunday

19th century choral book given new lease on life

Monday, 10 December 2018, 13:37 Last update: about 7 months ago

Last year Natalis Notabilis offered the Notarial Archives Foundation the opportunity to showcase the rich historical content found within the volumes held at the Notarial Archives Valletta, by selling traditional Maltese homemade treats. This new venture offered the Notarial Archives Foundation the opportunity tocollaborate with NatalisNotabilis and the Archconfraternity of St. Joseph, Rabat, to conserve a 19th century choral book from the collection of the Archconfraternity.


According to inventories found at the archives of the Archconfraternity of St. Joseph,this choral book was commissioned in 1864 by Don Vincenzo Vassallo, who was later appointed rector of the same archconfraternity.

The conservation treatment of the manuscript was quite challenging, due to its size as it measures up to 80cm in length. It required various interventions, such as paper repairs, consolidation and strengthening of ink-corroded leaves, and the replacement of the current binding, which was broken at the spine and had severely warped boards. The text block was resewn, as the original sewing was completely broken, and a new cover was constructed, using conservation grade materials. Aprotective enclosure was made to house the manuscript safely.

“This project delivers the message that conservation work needs to be done by qualified, professional conservators. This collaboration also reflects the importance of giving our paper heritage the importance it truly deserves, regardless of the archive it is housed in” said Joan Abela who is Consultant Historian at the Notarial Archives.

Lisa Camilleri, a freelance conservator working on the adoption scheme with the Notarial Archives Foundation stated that although the project offered various challenges it was highly satisfactory to see that this collaboration will ensure the future preservation of this precious work of art for the benefit of Maltese heritage

This volume was professionally treated by the book and paper conservators Lisa Camilleri and Chanelle Briffa. The fully conserved volume will be displayeduntil 13 December during NatalisNotabilis, at the national sanctuary dedicated to St Joseph in Rabat.


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