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The Royal Bindery in Windsor Castle specialises in the conservation and restoration of books, manuscripts and archival material. The team also creates new work, such as state gift presentation bindings, continuing practices used since the reign of George III when the Bindery was founded in what was then Buckingham House in London. This dual role ensures that the department maintains a skill base of traditional hand bookbinding, edge gilding and gold finishing (the decoration on leather book covers) at the same time as employing modern conservation techniques. Members of staff are also actively involved in contemporary craft and design binding.

The Royal Library & Royal Archives holdings are rich in historically significant items of great variety. The Bindery works to stabilise and repair books with as little interference to their original structures as possible but will, if necessary, produce full facsimile rebindings to maintain visual continuity. Emphasis is on the use of high quality materials and appropriate period techniques to preserve and make accessible a working collection. In addition, the Bindery uses its expertise to conserve and restore other leather-based objects throughout the Royal Collection, Household and Palaces.

The Bindery advises and forms policy on long-term collection care and housing. It also manages conservation provision for digitisation programmes, supports exhibitions and displays, and furthers understanding of the collections through academic/professional lectures and publications.

Case studies using this process

Image linking to conservation case study of the Eikon Basilike
Book conservation: The Eikon Basilike

Study of this book can tell us much about its origins

The rebinding of Audubon’s 'Birds of America'

The oversize volumes required a team of bookbinders

Royal Bindery working on watercolour facsimile
Recreation of Queen Victoria's Watercolour Album

A Royal Bindery, Print Room and Exhibitions collaboration

Jewelled necklace with amulet Quran
A jewelled necklace with a hidden treasure

This locket houses a tiny manuscript and both required careful conservation

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.