Tag Archives: collection

Photo a Day


This Freedom of the City of Manchester scroll presented to Mrs Enriqueta Rylands in October 1899. Mrs Rylands built the John Rylands Library as a gift to the people of Manchester. Thanks Mrs Rylands!

Throughout October The John Rylands Library will be running a Photo a Day campaign to increase the digital reach and exposure of the Library’s collections.

Each day, an image from the Library’s collections will be shared on Twitter and Instagram. The images will range from portraits of Alexandre Dumas to postcards from a Buffalo Bill scrapbook, and where possible, we will be supporting local, national and international festivals and anniversaries (such as Manchester Literature Festival and Gandhi’s birthday).

Please support the campaign by following us on Instagram and Twitter, retweeting images, commenting on Instagram or sharing your own images using the campaign hashtag #jrlphotoaday.

The account is @TheJohnRylands on both Twitter and Instagram.

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Seasons Greetings!

Marley's Ghost, from Alan Tabor's beautifully illuminated manuscript of Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Click to buy the eBook!

Marley’s Ghost, from Alan Tabor’s beautifully illuminated manuscript of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Click to buy the eBook for only £1.99!

It hardly seems a year ago that CHICC were wishing everyone the best over the holiday season, but here we are again!

What a fantastic and eventful year it has been! We have seen some extremely exciting projects take place over the last 12 months, Historic Maps of Manchester going online, our initial experiments with Spectral Imaging, working with more amazing partners, including Blackpool Illuminations and the National Trust. There have been many books and manuscripts digitised from our own collections too of course, all freely available on LUNA.

We already have some fantastic projects coming in the New Year, so make sure you keep an eye on the blog for the latest news!

So, From all at CHICC, have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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Rehousing Greek Papyri

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Greek 19 & 20 are 2nd and 1st century respectively papyri fragments which had been rendered illegible by surface salt ‘bloom’. The items were required for study by Dr Roberta Mazza, Lecturer in Ancient History in The School of Arts Histories and Cultures. Roberta asked us what could be done to enable study of the pieces (Greek 20 is in 3 parts).

Advice about the reasons behind the salt bloom and apparent high moisture content (moisture droplets were visible on the inside of the glass) was sought from Bridget Leach papyrus conservator at the British Museum.

After consultation a treatment plan was proposed by Collection Care to re-house the fragments.

Prior to the re-housing work taking place, the Imaging Team were approached to see if they could capture images of the moisture and also to see if there was any way the text could be made more legible using digital technology.

The papyri fragments were digitised using the IQ180 and 120mm macro lens to obtain the highest quality images. Using careful focus control, it was possible to clearly see the water droplets as soon as the images appeared on the computer screen. We experimented with the levels and contrast settings and were able to very quickly render the text legible (however it must be noted that these adjustments produce inaccurate colour information).

The papyri were successfully re-housed using techniques used during a separate Arabic papyrus re-housing project.

When the two sheets of old glass were carefully separated the salt bloom remained on the surface of the glass. Samples of the bloom have been taken which will be sent for scientific analysis. We expect it to be sodium chloride. We suspect the high moisture content in the original glazing was probably due to “wet” paste used to adhere the leather strips which were used to seal the edges of the glass.

The fragments were then placed onto a sheet of UV filtered conservation grade glass, the edges of which are lined with 10mm wide acid-free paper of similar thickness to the fragments. This will ensure the glass is not pressing directly onto the fragments.

2mm wide strips of Japanese tissue are used to ‘tag’ the fragments onto the glass using a reversible adhesive.

The sandwich is then sealed around the edges using Tyvek tape and new identifying labels are adhered to the outside of the glass.

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