One of the bindings mentioned in Dr. Nicholas Pickwoad’s report on the books at Derry and Raphoe is called the “Dudley Binding”. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester was a great collector of books, many of which have his stamp as seen above with a bear and his initials. The book shown above does not belong to the Derry and Raphoe library, however if you look at our masthead you will see that the second image from the left is another stamp of the bear and initials.
Our Dudley binding is valuable for many reasons, the most important being the original owner of the book. Robert Dudley was a nobleman and a favorite of Elizabeth I. Reading about his history proved very interesting with stories including secret marriages, jealousy, and murder accusations.
Our Dudley binding is in a bit of disrepair, however due to its historical value the team has put off doing any conservation work on the binding for now. Like many other volumes in the collection the leather has come away from the boards and spine due breakdown of the starch adhesive. For now the book remains wrapped in tissue until a decision is made as to the type of treatment it should receive, if any. Whether or not I am able to watch the conservation work progress I am very happy to have learned so much about the owner and hope to find out more about he binder of the book, known as “The Initial Binder” in the future.