The first seminar on the care and conservation of manuscripts, 25th-26th April 1994

The first seminar on the care and conservation of manuscripts took place in April 1994 at the University of Copenhagen and was organised by Gillian Fellows-Jensen from the Arnamagnæan Commission and Peter Springborg from the Arnamagnæan Institute, with the support of the Royal Library.

The seminar was modelled on a series of more informal meetings held by the “Research group on manuscript evidence” based at the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where a relatively small group of scholars, librarians and conservators meets several times a year to discuss manuscripts from as many different points of view as possible in order better to understand the manuscript as an historical artefact (as described in R. I. Page's article in the proceedings).

The seminar in Copenhagen was a more formal affair, with some 30 delegates taking part. The speakers came from Iceland, Denmark and – not least – Britain, where over the last several years there has been a great deal of discussion on a very high level pertaining to these matters. In connection with the seminar visits to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts' School of Conservation, the Royal Library and the Arnamagnæan Institute's conservation workshop were arranged. Following the seminar the foreign speakers took part in a one-day course for Ph.D. students at the University.

The following papers were presented at the seminar: R. I. Page, Cambridge: The research group on manuscript evidence: Some approaches and discoveries. — Christopher Clarkson, Chichester: The principles of book conservation. — Nicholas Hadgraft, Cambridge: The significance of the archaeology of the book in the context of conservation work. — Søren Carlsen, Copenhagen: Aspects of documentation and conservation. — Peter Springborg, Copenhagen: The work of conservation carried out under the auspices of the Institute. — Sigurgeir Steingrímsson, Reykjavík: The care of the manuscripts in the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland. — Ögmundur Helgason, Reykjavík: Kort oversigt over bevaring af håndskrifter og gamle trykte bøger i Islands Nationalbibliotek.

The proceedings, with the exception of Christopher Clarkson's paper, are published in Care and conservation of manuscripts, ed. Gillian Fellows-Jensen and Peter Springborg (Copenhagen: The Royal Library, 1995).