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Conservation of the Eikon Basilike

The treatment has strengthened the book and left it in a condition which will allow it to be handled and safely displayed to benefit future generations. It has given an indication of how magnificent the book originally looked. ©

The Royal Library holds around seventy copies of the Eikon Basilike, the book first published in the early days of February 1649 soon after the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649, and probably, at least in part, written by the King himself.

It accounts various events and hardships encountered by him in the years preceding his defeat.

This particular copy, RCIN 1080417, is notable for the four lengths of wide, blue, silk ribbon attached to its binding, and for an inscription inside it which reads, underneath the signature of Jane Manser:

“This Book was the Gift of Sr Oliver Flemming Master of the Ceremonies to King Charles the First, together with ye ribband strings which were the Garter his Majesty wore his George on”.

But can we trust this inscription?

Conservation of the object offers an opportunity to further investigate the book’s history, and to learn more about whether the lengths of silk could originally have formed one of Charles I’s Garter ribbons.

To read more about the conservation of this item visit the Conservation section of our website.