Self-Destructing Books: Colour, Corrosion, Conservation

A damaged and crinkled section of an illuminated manuscript

MS. Lat.Th.C.2(R)(3)


Self-destructing books: colour, corrosion, conservation

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 Thursday 9 March 2023

 1–2pm (GMT)

 Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
Online via Zoom

  Free and all welcome, booking required

This lecture has been cancelled.

About the event

The colours in many illuminated manuscripts remain vivid and ravishing to this day. Sometimes, however, they degrade and even destroy the very pages they adorn. Until recently, it was impossible to know for certain what the colorants in question were. Scientific advances mean we can now identify them by non-invasive means.

This talk draws on research into corrosive pigments undertaken jointly by the Bodleian Libraries and Team Pigment of the universities of Durham and Northumbria. It explores colorants commonly used in illuminated manuscripts and how they can be identified; and investigates possible means to counteract the degradation caused by destructive pigments.


Richard Gameson is Professor of the History of the Book at Durham University.

Nicole Gilroy is Head of Book Conservation at the Bodleian Libraries.

Booking information

This event is available to attend in person at the Weston Library or online via Zoom. The event is free and open to all but booking is required. When you have booked your place, the ticketing system will send you an automated confirmation.

Online attendance

Details will be confirmed to registrants ahead of the event. If you have booked to attend online, you will receive a link to the Zoom webinar in the week before the event.

Friends of the Bodleian

This talk is supported by the Friends of the Bodleian. To enjoy closer access to the Bodleian, including exclusive events and priority access to online content, join the Friends today.

For more information email


Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair-accessible.

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