The Return of Euclid

For the past year, our 1570 first English translation of Euclid’s Elements of Geography has been getting some much-needed TLC from Jennifer Robertson at Book and Paper Conservation Services.  One of the highlights of our collection, this edition is an important work in both the transmission of Euclidean geometry and the history of print. Translated by Sir Henry Billingsley, Lord Mayor of London, with a preface by John Dee, and printed at the press of John Day, this work is a veritable “who’s who” of 16th century England. Billingsley’s translation, besides being the first ever done in English, also had what was at the time the most comprehensive notes on Euclid’s works ever written – a true labour of love! A wonderful feature of this particular edition is the incredible 3D pop-ups of polyhedra to help students to understand the concepts presented in the book.

Jennifer spent time with each page of the volume doing a pulp infill treatment to fix the fraying edges, and also worked on cleaning and repairing the binding and replacing the original head and tail bands.

The images below show before and after shots of the book as well as the treatment process. A huge thank you to Jennifer for all of her work – we’re so excited to have this book back on the shelves for researchers!

Before treatment

Book is shut with spine lying beside it

Frontispiece with much of the page missing

Damage to pages

Back boards

During treatment

Pulp infill process

Page of volume with diagrams of dodecahedra

Pulp being applied with syringePulp being applied with spatulaPulp being applied with spatulaPulp being applied with an eyedropper

Pulp materialsPages being separated


Spine of book being cleaned

Repairing the front cover

Jennifer at work

Closed book with old spine and tool beside it

After treatment

Volume closed


Last page

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