Montefiascone Summer Project

I have been involved in this project in one capacity or another for over 25 years.

Montefiascone is a small medieval walled city about 100 k (80 miles) north of Rome, on Lake Bolsena. Since 1988, conservators, curators, art historians, book artists, and others interested in books and their history have come together to work, to learn and to enjoy this special place.  Participants come to enjoy the medieval architecture, friendly people, a clean accessible lake, books and scholarship.  The Montefiascone Project is a non-profit making organisation, set up to fund the restoration of the Library of the Seminario Barbarigo in Montefiascone.

In 1987 Cheryl Porter, a book conservator, invited Nicolas Barker, then Head of Special Collections at the British Library, to appraise the collection. In the summer of 1991, a group from the British Library and students from Camberwell College of Arts began to work in the library. Subsequently many conservators from across the world have come to help with the preservation and conservation of the library and its collections. Soon the archive and the furnishings and fabric of the library itself became a part of the on-going work. A cataloguing programme was begun and continues each summer, with tuition available to those who want to learn the basics of cataloguing rare books and manuscripts.

In 1992 a programme of summer schools was established, and this continues to run in parallel with the library project to this day. The classes provide an opportunity for librarians, conservators, cataloguers, bibliographers and those interested in the history and conservation of books, to assemble once a year to study one or more of the four, week-long courses. Many new acquaintances and friendships have been established as a result of these meetings, and knowledge and skills have been generously disseminated by masters in the field.


Last years classes included:

Recreating the colours on the Medieval palette: Western, Hebrew and Islamic.Course
Cheryl Porter

Early nineteenth century American and English Bookbinding: Machines, Materials, Structures, and Tools.
Tutors: Jeff Peachey & Nicole Alvarado

A Chinese Qur’an Course
Tutors: Kristine Rose-Beers & Cécilia Duminuco, with a lecture from Alison Ohta

Recreating a late sixteenth-century Cambridge bookbinding.
Tutors: Jim Bloxam & Shaun Thompson, with lectures from David Pearson.

Watch this space for next years programme, due out January 2023

Proud students with their books

Gold lettering on the spine


Danu was a very powerful and fundamental earth goddess, from which all power, wisdom and productiveness of the land poured forth. She was a wisdom goddess of inspiration and intellect.

In Irish mythology, *Danu ([ˈdanu]) is the reconstructed mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann (Old Irish: “The peoples of the goddess Danu”).

21 Ardglas, Dundrum,
Dublin 16, D16H2C3