Written by Laurent Cruveillier
UCL Special Collections possesses a collection of medieval and early modern fragments, including 157 manuscripts and nine early prints.
Most were recovered from bindings of other manuscripts or early printed books, where they had been used as spine linings, paste-downs or covering material.
The conservation process of the printed paper fragments is now nearing completion, and more will be shared on the theme, but along the way, one particular set of four 16th century, probably Italian, fragments of Aristotle’s “Ethica Nichomachea” (PRINT FRAG/4) behaved in such an endearing way that it inspired one of the involved conservators to produce a short clip.
In this film, one sees how providing the tiniest amount of moisture helps the paper fibres finding their original position, in an almost organic and live motion, as if they had kept the memory of how they were laid, centuries ago.
Witnessing their movement was such a thrill that we wanted to share it with you.
Learn more about the collection: