Restoration of the collectors’ albums at the Fondation Custodia

In accordance with Frits Lugt’s wish, as he attentively studied the uses and habits of his predecessors, the Fondation Custodia’s drawings dating from the 15th to the 18th century are kept in period albums. This practice followed by collectors in past centuries has now become a rare instance in museums, which tend to prefer the pragmatism of standard mounts and Solander boxes.

The Fondation Custodia’s most precious works of art are thus placed between the blank folios of these large leather-bound books dating from the 16th to the 19th century, acting as protective casing carefully stowed in the Hôtel Turgot’s storage room. Since 2017-2018, an ambitious project has been undertaken to restore these albums subjected to the test of time and use.

Thanks to the careful and skilled work of the restorers in Coralie Barbe’s workshop in Paris, Berlin papermaker Gangolf Ulbricht, and paper marbler Baykul Baris Yilmaz, the leather bindings and covers were reinforced, the folios in the book blocks treated or replaced, the stitching mended, and the marbled endpaper made to look as authentic as possible. The albums thus regain their original splendour, while presenting the qualities and conditions required for the proper preservation of the Fondation Custodia’s old master drawings. We invite you to follow step by step the interventions, skills and know-how that came into play in this revival.